Our Top 5 Christmas Tips!

Bolton Green Umbrella | Tuesday 03 December 2019 | 0 Comments

If you’d like a festive season that’s a little kinder to the environment (and better for your pocket!), read on for our top five tips!


1. Say No to Unnecessary Packaging & Recycle!


At this time of year, the supermarkets seem to be stacked to the rafters with gift sets; perfume, aftershave, toys, even cheese! They all look lovely, but they can be so heavily packaged that opening one is like separating Russian dolls… boxes in boxes in boxes! So why not consider these alternatives instead?



  • We can’t avoid packaging a lot of the time; things need containers after all! But we can choose to avoid unnecessary packaging and seek out recyclable options. So, if you can’t buy it loose/packaging-free, opt for presents, food or beverages that come in recyclable containers or packaging e.g. glass bottles, cardboard sleeves.

  • Put all the gifts you’re buying for someone inside one (recyclable) gift box or (reusable) hamper. Not only can this cut down on packaging, but because nothing needs to be individually wrapped, it can also save you money on wrapping paper. Plus, the recipient gets to delve into a ‘pick and mix’ of great gifts! Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same and you’ll end up with a lot less rubbish to deal with on Boxing Day!

  • If you really would prefer to wrap things individually but still want to cut down on waste, try swapping foil, plastic or glittery wrapping paper and gifts bags for plain, recyclable alternatives. Some companies, like Re-Wrapped, sell wrapping paper made from recycled materials that can also be recycled again after use! These days recycled doesn’t mean ugly brown paper; there are a variety of beautiful designs available out there!

  • If they are made entirely out of paper, gift bags (with any cord handles removed) and wrapping paper can be added to your household recycling. Unfortunately, a lot of them contain foil, glitter, plastic or other materials that cannot be recycled, so watch out before you toss into your beige bin!

  • Presents aren’t the only things that come in packaging; so does a lot of our produce! Try to buy loose vegetables if you can and remember to take your own produce bags with you to cut down on plastic bag waste.


2. Can’t Recycle? Why Not Reuse?!


Sometimes, what we want just doesn’t come in a recyclable option – sad but unfortunately true. Manufacturers and retailers still have a lot of research to do if they want to make their products sustainable! So in the meantime, here are a few things to keep in mind:


Gift Bags/Wrapping Paper


Gift bags and wrapping paper that contain foil, glitter, plastic or other materials can’t be recycled, but that doesn’t mean they need to go to landfill.


Now, we don’t want to spoil the fun of ripping open presents on Christmas morning, but if you’re feeling extra eco-friendly (and frugal), carefully opening gifts can keep packaging intact; bags and paper can be folded flat and stored somewhere dry for reuse next year, or for other occasions if their design permits. What a money saver (and waste reducer)!


Another alternative is the fabric gift bag. It may sound a little unusual, but they are more eco-friendly than non-recyclable wrapping, and often come in handy for other things after Christmas. Most are also easily washed. If you’re handy with a sewing machine or needle, you can even make a bespoke bag or add a personalised design.

Christmas Cards


Cards that don’t have embellishments (bows, glitter, ribbons etc.) can be added to your household recycling. Some embellished cards can still be recycled as long as any bows or ribbons etc. are removed first. But those that cannot be recycled (e.g. glittery cards) can still come in handy for a variety of craft projects – ask your local primary school or youth club if they can make use of them! If you like to get creative, you may want to have a go yourself! Why not make some (free) gift tags for next year? Simply cut out a pretty Christmas card design, use a holepunch to add a hole and thread a leftover piece of festive ribbon through it!


3. Unsure? Give the Gift of Giving!


If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for a friend or loved one, why not ask them which local charities they support and make a donation in their name?


Alternatively, you may like to gift them a membership to an environmental or wildlife organisation or adopt an animal in their name. The Wildlife Trusts, The National Trust, RSPB, WWF and many other groups will let you do this online.


4. Food for thought!


We‘ve all done it; we nip to the shops on Christmas Eve because we forgot the stuffing and end up leaving with a trolley load of extra goodies. What the heck, it IS Christmas! But it gets to mid-January and we still have a tonne of unopened or uneaten food!



  • Make a shopping list and try your very best to stick, no matter what… we can’t always resist those pesky ‘two-for-one’ Christmas offers (or a naughty pudding!) but avoiding those impulse buys can save you money and cupboard space.

  • If you have a large group visiting on Christmas Day, you may end up with a lot of leftovers, so freeze or refrigerate what you can and use it at a later date. Veggies and boiled potatoes can make an excellent base for a soup or stew, and who doesn’t love a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and stuffing? Be sure to reheat food thoroughly before eating and avoid re-freezing or re-heating meats.

  • If you find you have a lot of (unopened) tinned foods, snacks or non-perishables that you know you won’t use, consider donating them to your local food bank.


5. Didn’t get what you wanted?


We all have that one friend or relative that, despite all our subtle hints, never seems to gift us something we actually like! But don’t toss that unwanted present in the bin just yet! Whether it’s a Christmas jumper that you can’t bear to look at or a toy your child will never play with, someone else out there will probably love them - one man’s trash is another man’s treasure after all! Many places accept donations of unwanted gifts, such as local charity shops, community centres, emergency housing projects and children’s homes. The British Heart Foundation can also accept unwanted electrical goods as they have safety testing facilities in their stores.


Your Tips?


Have you got a fantastic festive tip that you’d like to share with us? If so, log on to Twitter, tag us using @BoltonGreenUmb and let us know! We’ll retweet the best ones and give you a special mention!

Image credit: InterstateWaste.com
KMF, 2019

Article Image
There are no comments to display

Leave this empty:

More Bolton Green Umbrella News

Hi-viz jackets available, FREE!

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Test new feature

Saturday 23 May 2020

TCV - Community Network

Tuesday 05 May 2020

My Wild Garden campaign

Monday 04 May 2020

Gangsta Gardening!!

Monday 04 May 2020

Covid-19 funding via Bolton CVS

Monday 04 May 2020

UK's first "tiny forest"

Thursday 26 March 2020

Thoughtful article in The Guardian ..

Thursday 26 March 2020

Recycle 4 School

Monday 02 March 2020

Woodland Trust offering free trees

Monday 02 March 2020

Thank-you to BGU from Roxy and S.P.E

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Promote your group's upcoming events!

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Physical Activity Alliance funding

Friday 10 January 2020

The Robin: A Symbol of Christmas

Tuesday 03 December 2019

Award schemes for schools

Monday 02 December 2019

B&Q Community Re-use scheme

Tuesday 05 November 2019

IMPORTANT! Pocket parks funding

Monday 04 November 2019

Bolton Green Umbrella Leaflets

Monday 04 November 2019

The Butt of the Joke

Thursday 24 October 2019

Step into the Spotlight!

Tuesday 08 October 2019

The Kids Are Alright!

Monday 07 October 2019

Go Batty For Bats This Halloween!

Saturday 05 October 2019

Bolton Council to spend £1.5 million

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Have YOUR Say About Our Newsletter!

Thursday 05 September 2019

New Weekly Event Updates!

Wednesday 04 September 2019

Read All About It... And Spread The Word

Wednesday 04 September 2019

New Funding for BGU Volunteer Groups!

Wednesday 04 September 2019

What we'd like to do to flytippers!

Wednesday 07 August 2019

Video of Wildlife Meadows

Tuesday 09 July 2019

Chewing gum can kill birds

Tuesday 09 July 2019

Petition for action on climate change

Saturday 20 April 2019

Boomerang Poo Bags (funny!)

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Seven litterpicking groups joint pick

Wednesday 09 January 2019

Mere Hall, new home Bolton Music Service

Wednesday 09 January 2019

Paris - turning streets into gardens

Friday 28 December 2018

Brilliant recycling of chewing gum

Friday 28 December 2018

"Trash Girl" defies bullies

Friday 28 December 2018

Friends of the Earth thank-you

Monday 24 December 2018

Honoured after 25 years

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Litter fines for Royal Mail?

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Corona replacing plastic six-pack rings

Tuesday 11 December 2018

The future? Plastic bags are 100% plant

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Walkers Crisp packet recycling scheme

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Men in Sheds Craft Fair

Tuesday 06 November 2018

Princes pick up litter!

Tuesday 06 November 2018

Complete ban on plastic bags in Kenya

Tuesday 06 November 2018

Asda, McDonalds and BGU litterpick

Monday 08 October 2018

Police act on off-road bikes

Thursday 20 September 2018

CPRE Reverse Vending Machine

Thursday 20 September 2018

World Clean-up Day

Thursday 20 September 2018

Bolton News: Council against flytipping

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Irresponsible dog owners please note!!

Tuesday 11 September 2018

BGU Support Friends of Moses Gate

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Bolton Council CEF film

Monday 16 July 2018

An Evening with Bolton CVS

Monday 16 July 2018

Big Tidy Ideas for Activities

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Did you know?

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Earthlings take the pledge

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Our New Website is Live!

Thursday 29 March 2018

Volunteers lend a hand

Saturday 17 February 2018

Bolton Vision Conference

Saturday 17 February 2018

Tea With the Mayor

Saturday 17 February 2018

Bolton Green Umbrella Newsletter

We send a regular newsletter with information about groups, events and volunteering opportunities. We'd love to add your name to our subscribers.