12 tips for a plastic-free Christmas

By: Kate Wilson
Date posted: 27 November 2018

Start your New Year’s Resolutions this side of the festive season and follow these 12 tips for a plastic-free Christmas!

#1 Mind the festive decorations

Are your decorations looking a bit old and shabby? The winter landscape is dominated with reds and greens, so get out there for some natural decorations rather than buying new ones. Sprigs of holly and fir, twigs and branches, mistletoe and pine cones make beautiful additions to your Christmas home.

#2 Be the eco-warrior at the office party

It’s that time of year when throwaway plates and plastic cups make an appearance for the Christmas do. Proper plates, with real cutlery and glasses will not only make a classier get together, but you’ll dramatically reduce your plastic waste. Make sure you get involved in the planning of your Christmas party!

#3 Give plastic-free gifts or experiences

Our online shop has some great ideas for stocking fillers to help reduce single-use plastic – reusable coffee cups, water bottles and beautiful jute and string shopping bags. Or how about giving the gift of MCS membership? Visit our shop. If there’s something specific you’re after, try the second hand shops or give experience like whale watching trips or surf lessons.

#4 Rethink gift wrap

Give your Christmas presents that nostalgic feel with recycled brown parcel paper tied in twine or cloth ribbon, add some seasonal greenery and last year’s Christmas cards for tags for beautifully wrapped gifts. Shredded paper is a great alternative to polystyrene to protect breakables. Another option is to wrap presents in once loved fabric.

#5 Enjoy Christmas cocktails responsibly

If you’re celebrating with a tipple or two this year, avoid plastic straws and stirrers. Instead, add to the magic with mint leaves, rosemary, cranberries and orange. Freezing your autumn blackberries in ice cube trays makes for a great addition to your winter cocktails.

#6 Go reusable on your big food shop

In the mad rush ahead of Christmas, don’t forget to take your reusable bags on your trip to the supermarket. Try and make it to the farmers market or green grocer for those seasonal winter veggies. Get crusty loaves plastic free from the bakers, and take your own air tight containers for meat, fish and cheese.

#7 Avoid plastic when picking festive nibbles

Ready-made canapés have particularly large amounts of plastic packaging. There are so may quick and easy nibbles you can make plastic free: truffles, mince pies, crudités, cheese twists, potato skins, sausage, sweet potato wedges, sundried tomato, stuffed olives, bruschetta, homemade crisps and many, many more!

#8 Pick plastic-free Christmas dips

Avoid the standard four pack of plastic packed dips this year, and make super quick dips completely plastic free.

Hummus. Blend chickpeas from a tin with garlic, tahini from a glass jar, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt. Add some cumin or paprika for some warming festive spice.

Sour cream. Mix soft cheese in foil with mayonnaise from a glass jar. You’ll be amazed how much this tastes like sour cream!

#9 Visit your local deli or market

Take a couple of airtight containers to your local deli for a range of local cheeses – just ask them to pop the cheese straight into your container. Whilst you’re there, look out for some chutney’s in glass jars. Grapes are difficult to find plastic free, but you could try your local grocers.

#10 Have a boxing day beach clean or walk

Beach Picnic

Who needs pre-packed sandwiches for your family walk when you have leftover nut-loaf or turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce? Washed down with a flask of hot chocolate, tea or mulled wine, there’s no need for any single-use plastic. Whether you’re by the sea or not, grad a bag and see can you help reduce plastic in your local area.

#11 Enjoy the January sales with reusable bags

If you’re heading to the sales, don’t forget your tote bags. We’ve got some lovely ones.

#12 Support our campaign to stop single-use plastic

jacko stpt - do not use

We’re using the great outdoors as a huge dustbin and much of this litter is ending up in the sea and on our beaches. Help us fund our work by supporting our campaign Stop The Plastic Tide. If you can’t help financially, our oceans would love you to share the message on single use plastic and maybe see you on one of our beach cleans!

For more inspiration check out MCS Ocean Ambassador, Lizzie Daly, giving her top tips to avoid plastics this Christmas.

Have a wonderful plastic-free Christmas from all at the Marine Conservation Society! See you next July for the Plastic Challenge.

Actions you can take

  1. Download our 'Living without single-use Plastic' guide
  2. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2018
  3. Join the Plastic Challenge
  4. Help us stop the plastic tide

Did you know?…

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded almost 50% fewer bags on beaches

On UK beaches levels of litter have doubled in the past 20 years

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to be 6 times the size of the UK