Swap white for green this Christmas

Round & About


Tatjana runs a loose-leaf tea startup called teapro.co.uk based in Windsor and is passionate about all things sustainable

Whilst Christmas is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be one of the most wasteful. The UK produces an additional three million tonnes of waste at Christmas and fills 100 million bin bags every year.

We’ve put together some easy and fun ways to reduce Christmas waste, so you can make a big impact this December and be part of the movement towards a more sustainable future. Let’s do this!

Spread joy with Christmas E-Cards

During that time of year when we want to express how much we care for our loved ones, Christmas Cards are more than just a tradition. However, even traditions can sometimes benefit from a modern twist, which is so easily done with lovely digital cards from companies like Paperless Post. Alternatively, you could also send plantable Christmas cards – there are some really lovely designs on Etsy.

Rent a Christmas tree

Seven million trees end up in landfill every year! One great way to reduce that astronomical number is by renting a Christmas tree and returning it back in January to be replanted. Another option is to repurpose your house plant into a modern Christmas tree – those fairy lights will help you make it look nice and festive!

Opt for reusable crackers

With some amazing re-usable options made out of fabric or Kraft paper, the transition away from single-use Christmas crackers couldn’t be easier! Try these and 

Get a zero-waste advent calendar

Whether you’re a kid or a grown-up, you have to agree that advent calendars makes the countdown to Christmas so much more fun. Unfortunately, a lot of advent calendars contain unnecessary plastic packaging. We recommend picking calendars that use sustainable materials and have longevity beyond Christmas, like this cute tea advent calendar, which can be re-used as a cork board for your home office. Of course, you can also create your own advent calendar. Bonus points if you make it out of recycled materials!

Re-use last year’s decorations

It’s time to dust off those Christmas decorations from your attic – there is definitely a certain charm in re-using vintage family garlands. Alternatively, turn making sustainable DIY garlands into a fun family activity! There are also some gorgeous Kraft paper baubles and dried fruit garlands you can get on Etsy.

Shop presents locally and sustainably

When it comes to presents, experiences are a great idea! If you prefer physical presents, try sourcing them from local small businesses that use sustainable materials. Over £42 million worth of unwanted Christmas gifts end up in landfill each year, so if you’re not sure about the size or the colour preference – go for something consumable like tea! You can get a beautiful sustainably packaged subscription gift box from teapro.

Reduce food waste

When it comes to Christmas food shopping, try to only buy as much as you need. And if you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, try swapping your Christmas roast for a vegan nut roast option. If you do have leftovers, find recipes to see how you can make the most of them.

Try fabric gift wrapping

Fabric gift wrapping is the new trend of this year, it’s easy, beautiful and re-usable. Definitely worth an investment.


Think ahead and minimise the effort and preparation for the next year. For example, make sure to keep all the usable gift-wrapping you get. If you get a new tech gadget, try to recycle the old one – your tablets and phone are full of valuable materials like zinc and gold that can be reused.

Instead of throwing away an unwanted present, you may consider selling it or re-gifting it. Lastly, consider donating unwanted left-over food to a charity like https://fareshare.org.uk/.

Go green!

Round & About


If we each make small changes to our lives we can collectively make a huge impact to protect our planet for future generations. Here are some positive ideas…

A new year, and a new decade. Recent months have delivered some very bleak news about the fate of our planet. We all know, thanks to Greta Thunberg and others, that urgent action is needed to mitigate the damage our species has done. However, we believe that positivity is the only way to bring about change so please consider these suggestions inspiration rather than guilt trips. Some of it might seem like common sense Together we can make a huge difference.

Tree’s company

Scientists have stated that billions more trees could remove two-thirds of all the carbon dioxide created by human activity. The Woodland Trust is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity working hard to protect the 1,064 ancient woods threatened by development right now. Buy saplings or donate at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk. Also plant bee-friendly plants and wildflowers. And aim to use only naturally derived products and fertilisers and keep your lawn real rather than paving over.

Council care

In the garden, get a compost bin to reduce your household waste. Ensure you utilise food waste, green waste and recycling schemes in your area: local authorities are working very hard to boost these so do check online what can & can’t be recycled to reduce landfill. Reusing, and buying less in the first place is still the best way to lessen your carbon footprint. Monitor and aim to reduce your levels over time.

Shower power

Just 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater (the rest being saltwater) and most of it is frozen or deep underground so we can’t afford to waste it. According to the Environment Agency, we could run short of water within the next 25 years. Shorten your shower and save 10 litres every minute, and get a water-saving shower head. An average five-minute shower will use 40% less water than a bath.

Feeling flush

Using the small button on your loo will save half the water. Or fit a low-cost water saving device in your cistern. Perhaps surprisingly, dishwashers use far less water and energy than washing up. Run taps slowly & turn off in between brushing your teeth, for example. In the garden, get a water butt if you can and use a watering can.

Heating help

When heating your home, turn radiators off or down in less used or unused rooms, consider if and when you really need the heating on and pop a jumper on or get a warmer duvet. Turning down your thermostat by just one degree can save up to £80 a year. Home boiler heating is responsible for nearly 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Bright sparks

You can save electricity and around £30 a year just by remembering not leave your appliances on standby and more by unplugging. Don’t leave lights on or appliances and devices on, in standby mode or charging unnecessarily. Switch to more energy-efficient LED lightbulbs and save about £40 per year.

People power

Switch to renewable electricity and green gas at home and reduce both your carbon foorprint and bills. Leading providers include Bulb, Octopus Energy and Ecotricity. The average home can save 1.5 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Do install a Smart Meter too – visit www.uswitch.com

Holiday at home

Consider a UK staycation for your next holiday. A long-haul return flight, say to New York can generate 1,000KG of CO2 per passenger. It takes an average person in more than 50 of the world’s countries to reach that figure an an entire year. A flight to America’s west coast would produce 50% more emissions, and a flight to say China or Australia double that.

Web wise

Switch to using the Ecosia search engine, which commits 80% of its profits to supporting reforestation projects. To date, it’s helped to plant more than 70 million trees.

Shopping savvy

Shop more responsibly and you can significantly reduce your waste and recycling output. And “punish” major supermarkets for their inaction! Look for local suppliers of milk, bread, fruit and veg, meat and dairy and other products. Find products that are made or grown in the UK and use less packaging, such as loose fruit & veg. Sign up to Freegle updates and for clothing, join the kids & buy vintage on apps such as Depop.

Waste not

Think about switching to a disposable safety razor, a bamboo toothbrush, planet-friendly deodorant, bamboo loo roll, soap bars or refillable shampoos and shower gels and use a Mooncup if menstruating. More zero-waste shops & pop-ups are appearing: we will keep bringing you news of these locally!

Cleaning up

In the kitchen, consider green dishwasher and washing machine aids (from Ecoleaf to soap nuts), a household cleaner such as Koh, refillable washing up liquid and other products (from Splosh to Smol) and  plastic-free cloths and scourers (from Ecococonut to Loofah).

Avoid palm oil

Research by Rainforest Rescue showed that the equivalent of 300 football fields are being destroyed every hour to produce palm oil production that can be found in close to 50% of the packaged products. The following ingredients on labels show that the product might well contain unsustainable palm oil: Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate and Palmityl Alcohol. (Source: WWF)

Drinking problem

It goes without saying that if you’re a keen coffee drinker or like to carry a drink on your travels, you should invest in a reusable coffee cup (from R Cup to Stojo) and drinks bottle (from Klean Kanteen and Jedz to One Green Bottle).

Food for thought

Avoid food waste and cut your household emissions by controlling portions, planning meals and monitoring dates. Every year in the UK we throw away £13 billion worth of food that could’ve been eaten, with the average wasting £500 a year. See our Ramblings for a wealth of gardening clubs to help you grow your own or share the fruits of other labours in various swap sales in your community.

More info

For more tips, visit

Crushing recycling

Round & About


Is crushing cans your jam, or do you find recycling soda-pressing? Vote on this week’s news about how our positive actions sometimes go to landfill waste…

Once you have spent the time, diligently cleaning out the containers that once held your butter, baked beans or favourite pud. And, you have taken the extra time to carefully separate the refuse from the recycling… all that effort and there is no real assurance it’s journey to the recycling plant is direct.

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You voiced your opinion about a second vote for Brexit last week. Here are the results

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