Household > Have Yourself a Merry (Eco) Christmas

Tis the season to be green. What with all that excess packaging and energy usage Christmas can be not so merry for the environment. Here are some of our tips and information to help you make this Christmas a greener one.


For 14 years, The Woodland Trust ran a Christmas card recycling scheme through Homesense, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer stores. Unfortunately, January 2011 saw the end of the scheme.

Over the years, The Woodland Trust recycled over 600 million cards, helping them to plant more than 200,000 trees. 

For more information on the scheme see The Woodland Trust site.

But, there is good news!


Following the scheme end in 2011, Marks & Spencer decided to set up their own scheme, supporting The Woodland Trust. Following great success in 2012, 2013 and 2014, Marks & Spencer are running the scheme for a fourth year in 2015.

To help, simply drop your cards into one of the boxes at your local Marks & Spencer store between 2nd and 31st January. For every 1000 cards recycled, Marks & Spencer will plant a tree in the UK.


More information on the scheme can be found on The Woodland Trust website.


Sainsbury's are running their own card recycling scheme, helping to raise funds for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Christmas card recycling bins can be found in over 1000 Sainsbury stores across the country until 14th January.


Cards can also be recycled with cardboard recycling, at recycling banks and Household Recycling Centres (though these will not be included in The Woodland Trust’s scheme). Recycling schemes vary across the UK. Cards can be put in normal cardboard recycling kerbside bins. For more information on where to recycle try our search engine or contact your local recycling officer.

Save on paper, card and energy, as well as the fuel used to transport post by sending personalised e-cards.
There are many e-card websites online, below are a few:
Friends of the Earth , 123 Greetings, Macmillan

Recycled Christmas cards are also available from shops and online stores such as Nigel’s Eco Store and many charities.
There are plenty more shops selling recycled Christmas cards online, use a search engine to find some you like.


• Buying recycled presents saves on waste and can save landfills.
• Buy presents that can be put to use and not left unused or thrown away, if you are unsure what to buy why not ask for a list of things the recipient would like to get ideas from.
• Gift cards give the recipient the chance to choose a present that they want.
• Unwanted gifts can be donated to charities which will save on waste and also benefit the charity they go to.


MP3 downloads have become a big thing and are not only easier, less clutter and cheaper than purchasing hard copies of CD’s. If you are buying music as a gift this year and the recipient has iTunes and an MP3 player why not buy them a gift card which enables them to download their choice of music up to the value you give them.

Wrapping Paper

Use recycled paper.

Councils and waste companies are urging householders to check their wrapping before placing in recycling bins. Most wrapping papers are coated with plastic or foil – these materials cannot be recycled when mixed. Wrapping may also have items such as cards, tags, ribbons and tape still attached to them which cannot be recycled and can cause costly damage to recycling machines if put through. However; normal paper, with any of additional items removed can be recycled.
The Metro once reported that in a bid to tackle this problem, some councils are now employing ‘bin bobbies’ over the Christmas period that go through waste bins to check for problem materials. Fines of up to £1000 are also being given out to repeat offenders. If in doubt contact your local authority/recycling centre.

According to Cedrec, wrapping paper can also be recycled in collection boxes at Sainsbury stores.

Other Recycling

Recycle cardboard packaging as normal in carboard recycling banks, make sure to remove any plastic windows etc.

Plastic and glass bottles should also be recycled where possible, use our recycling search to find your nearest location.


Real Christmas trees can be recycled into wood chippings and mulch. Contact your local authority to find out if they offer this service. Alternatively you can compost your tree.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association 
Useful information on Christmas trees, where to buy fresh and how to care for them. BCTGA supports Going for Green and encourages you to recycle your Christmas tree.

For more information on Christmas recycling check out our factsheet.


If you live in Shropshire, we have a news article from Shropshire Council, containing information about their tree recycling scheme.

Christmas Extra’s

Nigel’s Eco Store has a wide range of Christmas decorations and gifts. 

Use eco friendly LED Christmas lighting.

Remember to turn Christmas lights off overnight or when you're not at home to save electricity.


Have Yourself a Merry (Eco) Christmas!!

01743 343403