Sustainable Irish Christmas

Environment-Friendly Festive Season

Christmas is a time of fun, laughter, and joy, especially for children. We all want to have a wonderful time, but this year please remain mindful of the unnecessary buying and excess waste which can be created.

Our natural resources are precious so let’s try to keep them safe this festive season. All it takes is a little effort and your imagination for you, your family, and your friends to share an eco-friendly Christmas and New Year.

Everything from presents, wrapping paper and festive food can be made a little greener with a little effort. We have 8 suggestions below to get you started!

Snow At Christmas

8 Tips to Help!

1.   Gifting an event or experience to your loved ones this Christmas will reduce the demand for physical resources. Bringing people together by gifting shared time at an event or day out when brighter days arrive is special. You might try tickets to shows, concerts or summer events. Make a restaurant booking or share a gift card. Why not plan a day out to an Office of Public Works (OPW) Heritage site. You could even make and share a homemade meal or do some share spring gardening. It means Christmas comes twice for the receiver when they receive the gift and get to share an experience!

2. Give gifts with little or no wrapping or packaging. Shopping locally can help with this, especially if you have a local refill shop. If you must use packaging, use recycled, or recyclable, materials.  Avoid plastic where possible and being your reusable bags to carry all your shopping home! If you shop online, try charity shopping at

Old Toys – Think Reuse

3. Reduce the quantity of waste created. In 2014, the Irish Mirror reported that “Over 50% of gifts received at Christmas are considered useless” Not good news for the giver or receiver!  When buying gifts less is the new more. Think better, putting the time into picking a quality item that will last. This reduces gifts going to waste and can be better for your January credit card bill.  

4. Many Christmas crackers are not recyclable, and the toys inside are often made of plastic. Instead, look out for FSC-certified crackers with good-quality items inside which can be reused over and over. Another idea involves creating your own festive crackers. Fill yourself or get children involved in choosing and packing sustainable options (like chocolates, dice, and nail clippers) and other festive favours with a personal touch. 

Glitter and Plastic Free Festive Wrapping Paper

5. If you’re not sure what to give – why not support the work of a charity by choosing a cause close to the heart of the person you’re thinking of. It might be mental well-being, animal welfare, nature, wildlife, or the environment. This can include a gift of membership to an organisation, a donation, planting a tree or adopting endangered wildlife.

6.  Make your festive shopping basket more sustainable by buying locally produced, seasonal products. Doing so reduces the energy used in growing food. It reduces the purchase and use of out-of-season fruit and vegetables. It also reduces the shipping of food around the globe and supports the work of local Irish farmers by buying and eating seasonal produce like rooster potatoes, kale, carrots, leeks, cabbage and broccoli and brussels sprouts.

7. A survey by iReach in 2019 for Aldi found 50% more food is thrown away during the festive period. This food has an estimated value of €42 million. This waste is challenging on a number of fronts including carbon emissions and waste generation but especially for vulnerable families. We all can buy less, eat less, and share more this festive season!

Origin Green Programme

8. Know your food producers: When shopping for food, look for Irish produce to reduce food miles. Search for sustainability certifications such as Origin Green. This programme collaborates with over 55,000 farms and 324 leading Irish food and drinks companies to prove and improve the sustainability of the food they produce. You can also check out the Bord Bia Quality Mark.

When you see Bord Bia Q Mark on a product it means that the product has been produced in accordance with the required Quality Assurance standards and secondly the flag and the ‘Origin Ireland’ on the mark verify that the product was produced, in its entirety, in Ireland – where you see this mark it means that the food was farmed and slaughtered in the Republic of Ireland. You can view the Bord Bia Quality Mark here.

Origin Green is the world’s only national food and drinks sustainability programme, enabling the industry to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets that respect the environment and serve local communities more effectively. To help you can see some Irish-origin green producers with sustainable products in Irish supermarkets – click here.

To get more tips you can visit My Christmas Waste, just click here.

About Recycle IT

Recycle IT is an award-winning, not-for-profit, social enterprise established to create employment and promote environmental awareness through recycling and reuse. We work in partnership with WEEE Ireland and are authorized by your local authority to provide electrical, electronic and pure metal recycling collections across Dublin since 2007. Recycle IT are fully compliant with WEEE Recycling Requirements and permit details are available here.

For more information about Recycle IT please click here.

The Gift of Christmas Fund Raising

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