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Quick tips for a greener Christmas

Words by Smiley Team

Christmas is a notoriously wasteful time of year – from the 300,000 tonnes of cards, to the 54 million plates of food that end up in the bin. In fact, as a nation, we waste 30% more stuff than usual during the festive period. 

Climate change is here and every choice we make affects the planet – that’s why One Home exists: to help people make informed lifestyle changes, and find solutions that will have a positive impact on the world around us.

The organisation was founded by environmental scientist Angela Terry, who set it up because, as she says, “climate change is essential to protect what we love, but #ClimateAction isn’t scary, in fact it can be fun”. By making a few simple swaps and hacks, Angela believes we can all minimise our environmental impact, and keep the Christmas spirit alive.

Here are some ideas on ways to cut waste this festive season.

(Read more about how you could donate toys to 9,000 children this Christmas


Christmas decorations are often laden with plastic, which takes a lot of energy to produce and is difficult to recycle. The most eco-friendly way to decorate your home is to reuse the decorations you already have. If that’s not possible, swap decorations with others to get a whole new look for free. Alternatively, buy card, wool or glass decorations which can be recycled, or make your own, using pine cones or holly. 


Don’t use Christmas cards with glitter on, as these can’t be recycled. Instead, try and choose some already made from recycled materials. Wrapping paper looks beautiful but most of it can’t be recycled, so opting for brown paper – perhaps with your own designs – is a much better option. 

(Read more about these 82 postboxes which are raising money at Christmas)


A lot of Christmas food ends up in the bin, sadly. Make sure to properly consider how many guests you have coming, and what items you will actually need. You might also want to try and use Christmas leftovers to make some new recipes – there are some great options to be found at Love Food Hate Waste


Check out Preloved for a huge range of almost-new toys in great condition, that are actually a lot cheaper than those bought in-store. Toys made from natural materials, such as wood, are far better than those made from plastic. Make sure to remove the plastic window from toy packaging before you put the cardboard into the recycling, and save sturdier card and boxes for arts and crafts activities, or fancy dress emergencies. Finally, for toys that rely on batteries, invest in a set of rechargeables which can be used time and time again. 

You can find more positive solutions from One Home on its website

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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