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4 ocean-friendly festive ideas

Words by Smiley Team

As many look forward to enjoying the festive season, the Marine Conservation Society has suggested four ways to make sure your celebrations are as ocean-friendly as possible.

The charity fights for a cleaner, healthier and better protected ocean – one we can all enjoy – throughout the year. Whether going plastic-free, joining a beach clean or opting for a menu of sustainable seafood, there’s plenty of ways to get involved.

Beach clean or litter pick

For many, a long walk on Boxing Day is a festive tradition. If you’re lucky enough to be based by the sea, why not get family and friends involved in a bracing beach clean? If you’re far from the sea but want to do your bit, then take a bag and gloves with you and clear litter as you stroll. So much of the litter found in our seas originates inland – so you’d be cleaning up the ocean, wherever you’re based.

If you’d like to organise a beach clean with the Marine Conservation Society, and record what you find on the beach, head to the charity’s website to register and for more information.

Mix up the menu

If seafood features on your festive menu, check the sustainability of your choices with the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide, downloadable straight to your phone from

Here are some great options to make your festive feasts more ocean friendly:

:: Swap smoked salmon for smoked farmed trout – available in most supermarkets and farmed in freshwater ponds here in the UK. Trout has a similar taste to salmon, and your guests might not even notice the difference!
:: Serve farmed shellfish - choose hand-dived or farmed scallops for minimal impact on the seabed, or impress with classy canapés of stuffed mussels.
:: Make sure the prawns in your prawn cocktail are from sustainable sources; look out for the small pink prawns with the MSC blue tick label, or the larger tiger or king prawns, labelled Organic.

Make this season single-use plastic free

11 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year, but small steps can make a big difference to the health of the seas.

Could you vouch to avoid single-use plastic this season? From what wrapping paper you use, to what you gift to begin with, there are many plastic-free options which would make for lovely gifts. Look for cards without the plastic film and recyclable wrapping paper, or opt for re-usable wraps instead.

FatFace, a Marine Conservation Society partner, have shown how to re-use their paper bags as wrapping paper in this video.

Keep fatbergs at bay

Fats, oils and grease can cause major problems in pipes, drains and sewers. This waste congeals to form blockages which can lead to flooding in homes and pollution in our seas. Worse still, flushed wet wipes can team up with fats, oils and greases to make fatbergs, some as big as a double-decker bus.

This festive season, be mindful of what goes down the drain. Pour fats, oils and grease into a heat resistant container then recycle or bin once cooled. Wipe out greasy pans with kitchen roll before washing and catch greasy food scraps in a sink strainer to make sure they don’t go down the plughole.

For more information about the Marine Conservation Society’s work, or to join as a member, visit the charity’s website,

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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