Why Christmas Is The Perfect Time To Go Plastic Free

Modern Christmas is the very height of consumerism.  But it’s also the perfect time to take steps towards going plastic-free & being more eco-friendly. Each year hundreds of thousands of people go out & buy new decorations, a new tree, presents for loved ones & mountains of food.  All for one day of the year.  In fact, the Bank Of England data states that a typical household will spend on average £500 more in December than in other months.


We love the festivities here at Alde Garden & Sweffling White Horse. So before you call me a Grinch; let’s look at how all this Christmas spending impacts on the environment:


The Stats

  • According Unilever in 2014 the equivalent of 4.2 million uneaten Christmas dinners were sent to landfill. That’s 2 million turkeys, 14.2 million Brussels sprouts. If this food were transferred into energy (using anaerobic digestion) it would have been enough to power a medium sized home for 57 years!


  • The UK gets through 100 sq km of wrapping paper ever year, most of which is not recyclable.


  • Around 100,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from food, presents & decorations is binned on Christmas day. 1 billion Christmas cards are also put in the bin.  300,000 tonnes of card packaging is said to be used during the festive season, which is enough to cover London’s Big Ben almost 260,000 times.


  • Each year thousands are spent in the UK on new Christmas decorations too, with lots of perfectly usable ones ending up discarded. 14% of UK households, said they intend on replacing their artificial tree with a new one in 2018.  An estimated 6 million real Christmas trees will also end up in landfill this year, taking years to decompose.


  • Brits will produce an estimated 30% more waste over the festive season. With the associated higher financial & ecological cost to process this; maybe a consumerist Christmas isn’t so magical after all…?


What’s the solution?

So how can we make sure of a Merry Christmas without the extra weight on our conscience & damage to the planet? For us Christmas is another opportunity to prove that taking steps towards a greener future is cause for celebration, beauty & bringing people together. Just what Christmas is all about!

  • Every year we decorate using natural materials like holly, ivy & spruce. We have a trusty collection of fairy lights which get untangled & used over again.  We follow the old traditions of bringing the outside in & filling spaces with light.

  • This year especially we’ve made loads of effort with making our own decorations, rather than using any pre-packaged plastic or foil ones. Why not try making your own rustic decorations at home? They make great gifts as it’s so easy to personalise them.  Read our ‘how to’ blog for full instructions to make your own eco-friendly Christmas decorations.


  • We keep food miles & food packaging to a minimum. By working with local suppliers we can keep our festive food offerings super-fresh, packaging-free & delicious!  We work hard to make sure food waste is kept to a minimum & compost anything that is past its best.  It’s easier than you think to reduce your food-waste:  Here’s a handy blog with tips to try.


  • When it comes to giving gifts always try to shop local & avoid plastic packaging. (Cupboard Love have great plastic-free gift options.) Experiences, instead of ‘things’ is always a good way to go too – give people a memory, rather than a item they will eventually need to dispose of.

Why not try making your own gifts for loved ones this year? These little Christmas trinkets we made are perfect stocking fillers.


There are so many ways to reduce plastic use or even go plastic-free that Christmas should be no excuse for falling back into bad habits & creating even more waste than usual.  Instead, seize the opportunity to have a plastic-free Christmas!