30+ tips for a plastic free Christmas | WWF New Zealand

30+ tips for a plastic free Christmas

Fairy lights are up. Trees are decked out with sparkly ornaments. All I Want For Christmas Is You is playing on loop in the background. Yep, it’s officially the Christmas season.

Christmas is often a time of excess and over-consumption. With the huge plastic pollution problem clogging our oceans and killing our marine wildlife, there’s no better time to make sustainable choices this season.

While it might be tempting to get swept away by the festivities and buy into the consumer hype… there is a way to be swept away by all the pretty lights and be environmentally friendly at the same time.

Here are some essential Christmas items that you can swap for sustainable and plastic free options! It’s time to have a truly green Christmas.

Decking the halls sustainably

© WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

Having an eco-friendly festive season doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all the fun Christmas decorations! There are many ways you can dress up the Christmas tree and deck the halls sustainably, and still have beautiful lights and ornaments.

Christmas tree

  • Decorate an indoor plant
  • Create your own tree using things around the house
  • Buy a real tree instead of a plastic tree - it’s the most eco-friendly option

Lights and decorations

Wrapping gifts thoughtfully

© WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

It can be hard trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one at Christmas… and even harder to find environmentally friendly gifts at that! But sometimes the most thoughtful gifts are the simplest.


  • Give the gift of an experience rather than a thing
  • Shop for ethical, recycled and sustainable presents
  • Avoid buying plastic toys and choose eco-friendly toys instead

Cards and wrapping

  • Send an e-card using PaperlessPost
  • Re-use old wrapping paper, recycled paper, newspapers, magazines and fabrics
  • Use brown paper tape instead of cellotape

Setting the Christmas table

© WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

The Christmas table is where the best memories happen (after all, it’s where the food is). While many people might be tempted by all the Christmas-themed disposable cutlery, it’s much safer, eco-friendlier and classier to choose sustainable.

Cutlery and crockery

  • Use reusable wooden or biodegradable cutlery
  • Mix and match unique kitchenware from op shops and ethical stores
  • Purchase reusable straws or skip them altogether
  • Use cloth napkins
  • Repurpose old jars for drinks

Centrepieces and table accents

  • Use native plants and flowers as centrepieces
  • Decorate using flowers like lavender or edible fruit, like cherries

The Christmas feast

© WWF-Aus / Stef Mercurio

Christmas is often the time where food waste is multiplied! While we might all love a good and hearty feast, it’s important that we don’t end up with leftovers that’ll soon become wasted.

Christmas meals

Packaging, storage and leftovers

  • Skip the plastic packaging and plastic shopping bags! Bring your own reusable bags instead
  • Buy bread from your local baker and carry it in a reusable bread bag
  • Use beeswax food wrap instead of plastic or aluminium wrap
  • Donate your leftovers to organisations like KiwiHarvest

Making even a small change to your usual holiday traditions can make a big difference in the long run for the future of our planet.

Originally published by WWF-Australia

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