How to have a sustainable Christmas

Posted 03/12/2019 by E.ON

Christmas can have a big impact on the environment. With all the gift-giving and decorations, we can produce a lot of waste. 

So here are some of our top tips for having a sustainable Christmas, without compromising on the festive fun. 

Get real with your Christmas tree

The debate between buying a real Christmas tree or an artificial one is long standing. But if you want to limit your impact on the planet then look into getting a real tree. 

Artificial trees need to be used for at least 12 Christmases to have a lower carbon footprint than a real one. So, unless you’re investing for the long term, consider getting a real tree. 

When looking for your tree, make sure it has a FSC certification so you know it’s been sourced sustainably, and shop locally as a real tree that’s been imported will have a significantly higher carbon footprint than a locally grown one. It’s also key you dispose of your tree responsibly; most local councils will offer to pick up your tree after Christmas. 

Wrap it up, responsibly 

We’re all trying to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we consume and why should this be any different at Christmas? Most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable and the glitter, synthetic inks and plastic coating often means it ends up in landfill. Instead, consider alternatives such as fabric, recyclable paper and even paper bags

Reusing gift bags, boxes, tissue paper and ribbon from last year is a great way to reduce your waste – you could even use last year’s Christmas cards as gift tags.

Brown paper is another great option and you can get creative and decorate it yourself – with wooden stamps, ribbons or even foliage. Make it a family affair and get the kids involved, it’s a great way to keep them occupied and involved in wrapping presents. 

Energy-efficient Christmas lights

Having Christmas lights on your tree is a non-compromising tradition for many of us, but we don’t need to spend a fortune powering them. Choose energy-efficient LED lights which use almost 90% less energy than incandescent lights and make sure you turn them off before you go to bed to save you wasting energy when no one is up to enjoy them.

And with a smart meter you can easily monitor and control your energy usage, so you can keep an eye on how much energy you’re using to power your Christmas in the chilly, dark winter months. 

Decoration inspiration

Many Christmas decorations are made from plastic, and while they can be used year after year it’s likely that they’ll end up in landfill at the end of their use. Decorations made from recycled wood, fabric and glass make great alternatives to plastic or PVC options that are non-recyclable. 

Whether enjoyed as part of advent or used to make your home feel cosier, candles are a great way to bring extra warmth and colour over the winter months – especially Christmas scented ones. But candles can contribute to the air pollution levels within your home. So opt for soy, coconut wax or beeswax candles in place of paraffin-based candles to have cleaner air at home. 

Renew(able) your electricity supply

With all the extra energy we use over Christmas, choosing a renewable source is one sure fire way to ensure your Christmas is more sustainable. At E.ON, we supply all our customers’ homes with electricity backed by 100% renewable sources1. Our customers can have peace of mind that powering their Christmas lights or Christmas viewing will not cost the Earth.

Use your leftovers

During December, we waste over 4 million tonnes of food. This has a big impact on the planet and can easily be avoided. Shopping smarter so we only buy what we need, using leftovers and making use of the freezer are all great ways we can improve the sustainability of our Christmas dinner. 

There are lots of great recipes out there if you need some inspiration on how to best use your leftover turkey and vegetables – and there’s always the classic turkey curry

Shop sustainably

Instead of presents that have an end date, why not go for a timeless gift such as a house plant. If cared for, they’ll not only last for years but can also clear the air pollution in your home

Another great way to give more sustainably can be through Secret Santa. You can invest more money into one thoughtful gift, instead of lots of little gifts that could (sadly) end up in landfill. 

And don’t forget to take reusable bags when you go Christmas shopping, not only will this save you some pennies but you’ll also avoid increasing your usage of single-use plastic. 

Heat your home wisely

We all want our homes to be warm and cosy for Christmas. And having an energy efficient boiler means you can keep your home at the perfect temperature, while using less gas and spending less on your heating bills than if you have an older, less efficient boiler.

And installing a smart thermostat can give you even more control over your home’s heating, even while you’re out. 

These are just a few ways to make this Christmas even ‘greener’. Happy holidays!



1. Electricity sourced from E.ON’s renewable generation assets, supply agreements with independent UK wind generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to your homes comes from the National Grid. Find out more at


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