RS Living: 12 Days of a Sustainable Christmas - Riley Studio

RS Living: 12 Days of a Sustainable Christmas

by Riley Studio |

With the countdown to Christmas fully on (13 days left, not that we are counting…), we wanted to curate some simple tips to help you have a more conscious Christmas. We spoke to 12 #KindHumans to hear their tips, which you can read below or watch via our Instagram Highlight ‘12 Days’.

Amongst all the joy that the festive season brings, comes a catastrophic level of waste and overconsumption. According to a study by waste management company Biffa, the UK creates 30% more waste than usual over Christmas. This includes an estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper and 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging, which can be avoided with some simple swaps. 

We’d love to hear what you are doing too! 


1. Use Recycled or Reusable Wrapping Paper

Mathilde from Blanc and Kelly Eastwood from the London Chatter both recommended opting for recycled or reusable wrapping paper. Wrapping paper can create a huge amount of waste and many Christmas versions can’t be recycled if they are covered in glitter and foil. Mathilde suggested using magazines and newspapers, while Kelly recommended making fabric bags that you can use year after year.

We’d recommend foraging for decorations too, for example if you have a real tree, you can cut snippets off and pair them with holly.

2. Buy a Tree in a Pot that has Roots

Viola from the Sunshine Eatery recommended buying a small Christmas tree that has roots and comes in a pot, so that it can continue growing. Did you know that 8 million trees are thrown out in the UK each year, and most of them end up in landfills? You could also decorate all of your existing plants in your house.


3. Buy Less and Buy Better when Gifting

Nadine Banks and Mana from Bombinate encouraged people to buy things that the recipient really wants and to not get caught up in contributing to overconsumption by buying unnecessary things. They also recommended buying from brands that are sustainable and ethical. Our Community Manager Thomas from WeWork suggested buying meaningful gifts that are reusable, edible or readable, cutting waste down and making sure you don’t give presents that the recipient won’t use.



4. Avoid Buying New Outfits


Both Jemma from Stories Behind Things and Daisy from The Deck London were keen to encourage people to avoid buying new outfits for the festive season. Jemma recommended up-cycling something that you already own, for example by embroidering it, whilst Daisy suggested opting for rental websites if you do need an outfit for an event. Our Founder Riley, highlighted the waste that is caused by Christmas jumpers and suggested swapping with your friends or customising a jumper you already own.

5. Buy Second Hand Gifts


Emily from The Restory shared her tip encouraging people to buy all of their gifts second hand. There are so many incredible second hand pieces out there and if you wanted to restore or change the design of something The Restory is on hand to help make your present even more special and sustainable.



6. Gift Experiences


Shraddha and Freddie from Patch both suggested buying experiences as gifts, so that you can spend quality time with the recipient and enjoy something together. There are lots of activities available and vouchers make it easier allow the recipient to pick something that they would like to do. 

7. Avoid Plastic Cutlery, Cups and materials that aren't easily recyclable


We know it might take a bit longer to wash the dishes but with an expected 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging expected to be wasted this Christmas, every effort to avoid single use plastic counts. Lots of plastic cups and food ware are low grade plastic as well, meaning many types are not recyclable. The team from Freestar also recommend that you buy cans instead of bottles as they are easier to recycle. 



We have added some tips from us as well!



8. Make Your Own Crackers


Notoriously full of pointless plastic novelty items, crackers might be fun for a split second but a BusinessWaste survey revealed that a staggering 99% of people will throw away cracker gifts by the time Christmas Day is over. You could make your own and fill them with gifts you’ll actually use!

9. Use Candles Made from Natural Sources


Some candles come with chemicals fragrances and scent boosters, which can induce headaches, and candles made from paraffin wax (made from petroleum) can give off carcinogens when burned. Look for candles made from soy, beeswax or vegetable-based wax - instead of ones made from paraffin.

Our Woodland Dew candle by Essence + Alchemy has been handmade with environmentally sustainable and ethically sourced natural materials, no artificial fragrances or chemicals. 

10. Plan your Meals Carefully to Avoid Food Waste


Did you know that each year in Britain the equivalent of four million Christmas dinners are wasted. That’s the equivalent to two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and five million Christmas puddings. Need we say more about planning your meals to avoid food waste?