Six Simple Steps for a More Sustainable Christmas | Keep + Kind

Christmas presents wrapped in sustainable kraft paper wrap and Furoshiki, tied with green ribbon

Welcome to the December Edit

I love Christmas, the twinkly lights, the joy in children's faces, and oh the cheese... Now, where's my elasticated trousers?

What I'm not keen on is the waste. One of the reasons I started Keep + Kind was the inordinate amount of waste gifting produces. Did you know, in the UK we use 227,000 miles of gift wrap each year? Enough to wrap round planet earth almost 10 times!

If you're keen to be more sustainable this Christmas, here's six ideas to get you started. My philosophy is always progress over perfection, and that small changes make a big difference, so even if you manage them all, why not try one or two?

1. Gift Wrap

There are so many different options to make your gifts stand out, we have a range of gift wrap from stockists such as 1TreeCards, who provide fully recycled and recyclable wrapping paper, containing flower seeds for the recipients to plant - the wrap that keeps on giving! 

As a rule, ff wrapping paper has foil, glitter, plastic features or is covered in lots of plastic sticky tape, it's not recyclable. 

If it's free of non -recyclable material, an easy way to test whether it’s recyclable is the scrunch test:  scrunch your paper into a tight ball in the palm of your hand, if the paper stayed scrunched it’s recyclable, it if it bounces back, it’s not.

A sustainable option: if you're looking for ribbon, Tencel is both compostable and biodegradable and is the product use in our gift wrap service.

Check out Recycle Now's video:

2. To tape or not to tape?

An extraordinary 40 million rolls of sticky tape are used each year! To counteract this invasion of plastic tape, there's loads of new products on the market. The most obvious is standard kraft paper tape, which we use on our parcels. For gift wrap we use a recycled plastic tape from a brand called tesafilm, I've also seen Sellotape have now developed a zero plastic tape. 

If you're looking for something more festive and fun, there are numerous suppliers of Washi tape, which is a decorative paper masking tape.  My personal favourite is this eco tape from Read Wrap Recycle, featuring Christmas jokes and is recyclable (click the photo for a link to their site):

Paper tape for wrapping presents with Christmas jokes printed on it

 3. Alternatives to traditional gift wrap?

There are so many, from brown kraft paper, which can be jazzed up with twine, dried citrus fruit (slice 1-2 cm, low oven 100-120c for 3ish hours) and a bit of added of foliage - i.e. rosemary of plant of choice - think holly or pine needles - and voila!

There's also the growing popularity of Furoshiki, which is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. I'm hoping to stock these next year - watch this space...

A picture of five gifts wrapped in Furoshiki - traditional Japanese wrap

4. Be mindful when buying gifts

£42 million of unwanted Christmas presents are thrown away each year, with an extra 30% of rubbish being produced during the festive period. When buying gifts look for more sustainable options - we have lots - that eliminate or minimise plastic usage or use recycled materials. Consider where the product was made, has it travelled far? There are also lots of handmade gifts for sale, or maybe you could make your own.

5. Christmas crackers

Fun fact: Christmas Crackers were created by Tom Smith (c.1850) who was unable to generate interest in the bon bon sweets he'd brought back from France. After sitting in front of his fire and noticing the sparks and crackles, he was inspired to wrap the sweets so they could be opened with a crack and a pop to add an element of fun. The sweets are eventually swapped out with toys, and his sons added paper hats in the early 1900s to ensure we all look silly and for festive fun. So there you have it, every day's a school day.

Traditionally lots of crackers contain plastic toys, although this year I've notice a lot of retailers moving away from this model and are offering eco alternatives, including Celebration Crackers we have a small amount of these left and they're currently 25% off. 

Girl wearing a santa hat looking into an open Christmas cracker

6. Christmas cards

And finally, the Great British tradition of sending Christmas cards. The most obvious eco alternative is to send an e-card but personally I love receiving cards in the post, it's a still a thrill.

Making cards is always fun with kids, grab some card, pens or paints and you're off. We also stock Christmas card kits from PaperTown - which include just the right amount of everything so there's no waste.

When purchasing cards, the same rules for recycling stand as for wrap - if it's covered in glitter or foil,then recycling is not an option. If there's just a small amount of glitter or foil, then my advice is to tear this out prior to recycling. 

Always look for greeting cards that are made from either FSC stock or recycled card, a simple but effective sustainability step. All of Keep + Kind's greeting cards are one or the other, you can view our complete selection here. We especially love 1TreeCards who go one step further, by planting a tree for every card sold and including flower seeds for the recipient to plant.

A box of festive Christmas cards from 1 Tree Cards including seed tokens

I hope these six simple steps are food for thought and help you to consider a more sustainable Christmas, if you're looking for more fact and figures, check out the Christmas packaging facts from GWP Group and, as always, Recycle Now is a wealth of info to find out what you can recycle locally to you.

I'm always interested in what you guys are interested in, so if there's anything you'd like me to talk about, please leave a comment below or get in touch at or via the contact page.

Sending you lots of Christmas cheer as we see out the infamous year that is 2020.

Fist bumps,

Sam xx




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