Helpful hacks for a more sustainable festive season!

Posted on 08 December 2020.

Helpful hacks for a more sustainable festive season!

We love this time of year but are always mindful that it’s a time that can generate a lot of overconsumption, waste and excess.  Our team had lots of ideas about decreasing our footprint while still having a great time and we thought we’d share them with you:










Thoughtful gifts

There are so many organisations offering a more sustainable approach to gift giving it’s worth doing a bit of research.  Just a couple used by our team:

Old cashmere jumpers can be refashioned into new items including a free pair of gloves.
A clothing manufacturer, with circular economy at the core of activities and you actually get a £5 credit when you return worn out items.

Charity shops are great for pre-loved gifts! 
Even better – save wrapping paper, delivery costs and unwanted gifts by giving sustainable gift vouchers.

Within families or groups, rather than everyone giving everyone gifts, consider using a Secret Santa approach so everyone has one or a limited number of gifts and can specify what they would like so there are no unwanted gifts.

Christmas tree tips

If you already have an artificial tree at home, use it until it can’t be used anymore and make the best of it.

In some areas, it is possible to rent a potted tree. Most potted tree providers will drop off the tree before Christmas and pick it up early in January. Or, buy a rooted potted tree that you can keep and re-use year after year.

Avoid getting a cut down tree but if you must ensure that it’s been grown locally and recycle it after Christmas.

Reusable or repurposed gift wrap

Wrapping paper is massively wasteful as most can’t be recycled.  There is recycled wrapping paper available or take it even further and use old newspaper, reusable gift bags or cotton wrapping cloths which can be kept and reused over and over.

Create a sustainable menu

A plant based menu is the best option for the lowest carbon footprint but if you can’t convince everyone to eat plant based meals, just having poultry or organic farmed fish instead of beef or lamb can make a massive difference!  If you think buying local will help, don’t forget that most emissions are created through the farming process and change of land use to make space for food cultivation and that transportation carbon emissions only make up a fraction of the environmental impact of the foods we eat.  

Sustainable decorations

Re-use decorations you already have instead of buying new every year. Whenever you do need to buy new decorations, try searching for second-hand options in charity shops or make your own with natural products such as pinecones, holly, dried sticks etc. which can wither be saved for next year or composted at the end of their use.




Portion control!

Food waste is a massive issue in our society: 30% to 40% of all our food is thrown away uneaten! When food waste ends up in landfills, it cannot decompose properly and produces methane. Wasted food also means that any resources needed to produce it have been wasted.  Think carefully about how much you’ll eat and only buy that much.  Don’t throw anything away!  Think soup, curries and freezing for leftovers.

Lighting up

Use LED lights for your decorations – these consume 80% less energy than twinkling incandescent lights. If you have any outdoor decorations, switch to ones powered by solar energy and set them on a timer.

Greetings cards

More and more people are either not sending greetings cards or sending an ecard. For some people sending and receiving a card is still an important way to keep in touch so make sure you buy ones that printed on FSC certified paper or made from recycled paper.


Christmas crackers are so wasteful. If you can’t part waste with the tradition, invest in reusable crackers you can fill up yourself or more sustainable, plastic-free options. If, on the other hand, crackers were never your favourite, why not skip them and try making your own tradition instead?

With very best wishes from all at JRP for a happy, peaceful and healthy holiday season and a more sociable and sustainable new year.

For energy saving ideas at work, see More energy savings ideas for your Christmas shutdown

If you’d like to know more about any of JRP’s services, please email or call 0800 6127 567.