Our top tips on how to avoid waste from Christmas cards this holiday season

Lots of people in the UK are making their own Christmas cards this year.
Lots of people in the UK are making their own Christmas cards this year. Copyright Pixabay
By Laura Sanders
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An average of 1 billion Christmas cards are thrown away every year in the UK alone.


Did you know that one billion Christmas cards are thrown away in the UK every year? 

Much like wrapping paper, the glossy or glittery varieties can’t be recycled and many others are treated cardboard, which is also often non-recyclable.

From e-cards to plantable cards, we’ve rounded up some fun and quirky ways to spread the love this Christmas while also protecting the environment.

4. Send an e-card

The single easiest way to reduce waste created by cards is to ditch physical ones. Step up, e-cards.

There are tonnes of websites to pick from, such as Greenvelope or Group Greeting - which have partnered with OneTreePlanted to plant 1 million trees by 2025. You can add your own photos and completely personalise your cards, or choose one of the templates on the site.

Some cards are even interactive or include a fun game to play, such as this range from Macmillan, a UK cancer charity.

And whilst you’re feeling generous with the cards this year, this campaign makes it easy for you to put a smile on a lonely person’s face by sending them a card.

3. Plantable wildflower cards

These cards from Loop Loop have plant power. Once the recipient is finished with the card, instead of throwing it away, they can plant it in some soil and enjoy watching beautiful wildflowers grow. This will not only benefit the wildlife in your garden but brighten your day too.

Loop Loop is a small business based in Brighton, UK which is built on an ethos of repurposing materials. Cards are typically made with recycled materials and decorated with eco-friendly paint. One card costs around €4.

There are many more eco-friendly card options from small businesses on Etsy - which are either made with biodegradable/recyclable materials or have more than one purpose, like growing into flowers.

2. Make your own cards

It may be the most obvious solution, but that’s because it’s a good one. Reusing materials to make your own cards is not only environmentally friendly, but it’ll also save you money. Plus, who doesn’t like receiving something that’s homemade?

Using biodegradable materials is key if you’re not going to contribute to landfill waste. Avoid using glitter- especially if it's plastic-based - as this can’t be recycled and try to find non-toxic, natural adhesives for your creations.

1. Don’t throw away this year’s cards

Plan ahead for next year and store away this year’s cards. They often have designs on the front and blank spaces on the back, making perfect cards or postcards.

You can also cut out the pictures and stick them on your homemade cards. If they’re glossy or glittery cards, they won’t be recyclable - but at least they’ll get a second life this way.

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