The GreenAge guide to an eco-friendly Christmas

Avoid wasting food

Food waste is a big issue at Christmas. The Environment Agency estimates that British households throw away 160,000 tonnes of food waste at Christmas. Here are a few tips to help you cut down:

Don’t buy a turkey the size of a small child. If whoever’s cooking in your home is anything like my mum, they’ll have deliberately bought a turkey far bigger than one family could ever eat before it goes off. In my house, this is done on the premise of providing ‘leftovers’, i.e. the annual disappointing turkey curry. When it comes to Christmas, there seems to be one rule: the bigger the better, forgetting one simple fact – no one wants to eat that much turkey. In fact, they may well have had enough to last them until next year after the excesses of Christmas Day.

More generally, remember that there’s a limit to what you can possibly eat – even if you have 15 family members coming to stay. Plan your meals carefully and remember there’s limited space in your fridge and freezer. As long as you have enough food in for the bank holidays when shops are shut, you an always pop out for things you need as and when.

Get creative. Rather than throwing good food away, get reading up on a pie recipes, turn your leftover veg into bubble and squeak or (my personal favourite), shove it all in a blender and make roast dinner soup!

You could even go one better and cut down on meat. The meat production industry generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars in the world and at Christmas, it seems like literally everything has sausage meat in it. It’s probably easier than you think to leave it out of a few meals. You might swerve some of the depressing post-indulgence bloat too.

What you don’t use can go in the compost or food waste collection. It’s so easy to think food recycling is too much hassle, but there’s nothing difficult about just chucking it into a different bin.

Be careful what you are throwing away

Be sure to recycle packaging and wrapping paper. This is easily done and can avoid a lot of unnecessary rubbish.

Where possible, buy kids presents they’ll want to keep, rather than plastic toys they’ll break or forget about within a year and will end up in landfill.

Keep an eye on your energy usage

Don’t leave your Christmas tree lights on all day when there’s no-one in. The usual rules apply re turning off the lights when you leave a room. A brightly lit tree may look pretty through your living room window, but it’s a kind-of-unjustifiable waste of electricity.

Make your own decorations

Go vintage. Rather than buying a load of new plastic decorations, have a dig around in the attic to find your old ones for a kitschy mix-and-match look, or make easily-recyclable ones like paper chains. If you have kids to entertain, this is an easy Christmas activity and gets them away from the TV for a bit! Who knows, in years to come they might become heirlooms for the next generation…

Be mindful of air miles

Buy locally (both food and presents) as much as possible. Why buy fruit and vegetables from the other side of the world when you could be getting them cheaper from a local veg box?

Save water

Drink prosecco instead.


Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?

Comment below to get your voice heard…