News and events

Top tips for a greener Christmas

Posted on Monday 14 December 2020

By Karen Barrass

Christmas can be a time of excess, but it is possible to celebrate whilst also minimising our impact on the environment. With the big day fast approaching, here are some top tips for making the festivities greener. Sustainable seasons greetings!


When selecting gifts for loved ones and friends, think about where things are coming from and how they are packaged. Can you find gifts that don’t come packaged in plastic or are made from recycled materials? Can you provide rechargeable batteries for that toy? Whilst it isn’t always possible, buying local or buying pre-loved gifts (Caversham and Emmer Green have such GREAT charity shops!) can make a big difference. And True Food has an excellent selection of Christmas treats which fit the bill!

Or you could bake, make or teach something. Offering your time, skills or services as a gift might actually be more meaningful and useful.


Paper: Whilst well-intentioned, putting all that excitedly ripped-off wrapping paper in the recycling bin may not be all that helpful. If the wrapping paper has glitter or foil in it cannot be recycled. Neither can any foil-based bows or ribbons - so best to steer clear of these embellishments as they will end up in landfill. As a good rule of thumb if you scrunch the paper into a ball and it stays tight, it can be recycled.

You can look for alternatives - using fabric and ribbons, parcel tape or newspaper and string with some festive ink stamps are good ways to ditch the glitter. But if you want to stick to conventional wrapping paper, the good news is that True Food is selling recycled and recyclable paper - so be sure to pick some up to make sure it won’t go to waste after Christmas morning.

Tape: As plastic tape also isn’t recyclable, it can be a bit tricky to make sure that your wrapping is ready for the recycling. Washi tape (‘wa’ meaning Japanese and ‘shi’ meaning paper) is a great, more decorative alternative. It is made from tree pulp, is biodegradable and can be recycled and is readily available in most craft shops.


Tags: For the past few years I’ve sifted through my Christmas cards for the year and cut out the pictures to reuse for my own gift tags. I couple these with all the string and ribbon that I accumulate from various sources throughout the year - reusing what we have instead of buying new things is another small touch that limits the amount that ends up in the bin each year. You could also write the recipient’s name on the present - even better.



Christmas food shopping doesn’t have to lead to excess. But it is estimated that in the UK two million turkeys, five million Christmas puddings and over 74 million mince pies are wasted every year. So this year write a list, work out a food budget, work out what to do with the leftovers and plan your meals so that everything gets used up. These tips can help you to buy only as much as you actually need over the festive period.

And with food bank use up by almost 50% in the period April - Sept this year during the pandemic, this is shaping up to be a Christmas where food banks will need donations more than ever for those struggling to make ends meet. Readifood has a collection box in the True Food store - so maybe drop something in there next time you visit the shop.

Return to headlines