10 Tips for a Plastic-Free Christmas!

Christmas can be a time of excess – including plastic! Whether it’s toys, wrapping paper or food containers, plastic is everywhere at this time of year!

Protect your ocean, beach and wildlife by have a plastic-free Christmas. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

1. Wrapping paper

Most wrapping paper actually contains plastic and can’t be recycled. There are lots of alternatives on the market that don’t contain plastic, some even made from recycled paper. Or why not go for the classic brown paper look, with beautiful reusable bows and decorations?

You can find some ideas here.

You can also used once-loved fabrics and use shredded paper instead of bubble wrap and polystyrene!

2. Green Christmas Trees

Everyone loves Christmas trees, they are a central an important part of feeling really Christmassy at home! Choose an eco option to make sure your special tree doesn’t harm the planet!

Fake trees can be reused for years, but are mostly made of plastic and will likely end up in landfill.

Real trees are better, but millions of people wanting Christmas trees means millions of trees cut down, which isn’t very sustainable. A better alternative is to buy a pot grown, living tree, which you can keep in the garden for the rest of the year and bring in every Christmas. You can even rent Christmas trees, meaning that you can send your tree back to be cared for for the rest of the year and no trees have to die!

3. Eco Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers often come with a lot of plastic, most of which ends up in the bin, or worse still, our oceans!

You can still enjoy crackers round the table on Christmas Day, but why not opt for more sustainable options, like reusable crackers or those made from recycled materials? Or why not try making your own?

4. Edible Christmas Decorations

Why not cut down on the amount of plastic in your home by making decorations you can eat?! It’s a win-win! Make gingerbread men or cookies and hang them on your tree! If you don’t have time to make your own, look out for wooden decorations that make a beautiful addition to your tree.

5. Plastic-free gifts

Give gifts for your loved ones and the planet by opting for plastic-free options. Kids’ toys tend to be made from plastic, but you can make a difference by buying wooden alternatives, which are beautiful and can last a lifetime.

There are now lots of plastic-free shops online where you can buy lots of lovely and sustainable gifts for the special people in your life, so why not take a look?! Another great idea is to give experiences rather than gifts, like a spa day or a concert ticket. Even better, make your own gifts for a lovely personal touch!

6. Plastic-Free Christmas Dinner

When shopping for your Christmas feast, try and opt for plastic-free food! Many supermarkets are now offering plastic-free fruit and veg, or a great way to avoid plastic and support your community is to head down to your local market.

Making your own treats like mince pies, cakes, gingerbread, Christmas puddings and cookies is a great way to avoid plastic and also lots of fun for the family. And making easy dips means that you’ll avoid having lots of plastic pots at the end of Christmas.

7. Plastic-Free Shopping

Don’t forget to take your reusable tote bags out with you when you’re doing your Christmas shopping! It’s easy to come home with lots of big plastic bags full of goodies, but these can end up in our oceans and harm our wildlife.

8. Plastic-Free Tipples

Many people love a tipple at Christmas, it is a time for celebrating after all! Just make sure you don’t use plastic straws or stirrers! There are lots of alternatives out there, including paper and metal straws!

9. Plastic-free parties

Avoid throwing away lots of party ware by choosing paper plates and cups, and wooden cutlery! Or even better, reusable options and ‘real’ plates and cutlery!

10. Take Part in a Local Beach Clean!

A great way to protect your beaches, oceans and wildlife, is to help keep them clean! What better way to make a difference and burn off some Christmas pudding, than taking part in a local beach clean? There are lots going on up and down the coast, so check out our volunteering pages to find a beach clean near you!

Leave only paw prints!

It’s official! The bathing water season is over! This may be sad news for swimmers and it means that we have to finally admit that summer is over, but it’s good news for our furry friends who are now allowed back on the beaches!

Dog bans are in place on many beaches along the North West coast during the bathing water season, but once it’s over, we can start walking our pooches on sand once again.

So at this time of year, we like to remind everyone to pick up after their dogs and leave only paw prints.

Here are some doggy facts to inspire you to buy some poo bags and make sure you have them with you whenever you go to the beach!

  • 27% of the population in the North Wets own a dog. That’s 852,000 households.
  • In 2017, there were 1,110,000 dogs in the NW.
  • There are 8 million dogs in the UK and they create 1000 tonnes of dog mess every day.
  • There are enough E.coli bacteria in one dog poo to contaminate an Olympic size swimming pool (around 3 million litres of water).
  • A single gram of dog poo can contain up to 23 million faecal coliform bacteria!
  • Dog waste can also spread parasites such as hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, ringworms, tapeworms, Parvovirus and Salmonella.


Our beaches have something for everyone!

Check out our amazing video about this year’s Active Coast programme!