How to have a Sustainable Christmas

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, halls decked with boughs of holly and wheelie bins overflowing with five extra bags of household waste. A contemporary Christmas is founded on excess – too much television, too many presents and too many sprouts. As a nation, we tend to spend a lot of time talking about the weight gain Christmas splurging heralds, but the need to over-do it in the festive season has effects which push far beyond the nation’s overstretched waistbands.


According to, English households throw out an additional three million tonnes of rubbish over the festive period. 250 tonnes of Christmas trees that could have been recycled are thrown away, while the amount of unrecyled wrapping paper last year would have been enough to wrap up the isle of Guernsey. Even Christmas dinner can have serious environmental effects – according to the Guardian, on average, the ingredients for your Christmas dinner will have travelled a combined distance of 49,000 miles to get to your plate. However, there is much that can be done to keep Christmas festive, fun and and mildly unhealthy, while keeping the planet in mind.  


Cut down on the air miles and buy your Christmas fare from local markets. It stimulates the local economy while reducing the carbon footprint of your roast potatoes. Defrosting your freezer in the run up to Christmas will make it run smoother when you are piling it full of locally-bought food.   A tree is for life, not just for Christmas – buy a Christmas tree with roots so that it can be replanted after the festive season. Drape it with LED Christmas lights; they use a huge 80-90% less power than conventional ones.   Save Guernsey and use recyclable wrapping paper. If you want to be really creative, why not try the Japanese art of ‘furoshiki’ and wrap your presents in some beautiful fabrics? These can then be reused or donated to your local charity shop. For conventional wrapping paper, visit the Warwickshire County Council website for the location of your nearest wrapping paper recycling point – these were piloted last year by the Council and were very successful.   Think of sustainable gifts – from a homemade cake to a Spa experience, your presents don’t have to have travelled thousands of miles to impress.   Treat yourself, your family and the planet to a sustainable Christmas this year. Easy, simple changes could make a big difference to the environmental impact you make over Christmas.   Useful links: