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Before we kick off with our tips, take a look at the top of the page! This is the Christmas tree we’ve had at Seaborne Library on Parkgate Road Campus. It's made from 120 packets of crisps, which is less than 1% of the 13,000 crisps that have been collected at the library since October! Luckily those 13,000 crisps won't end up in landfill; they are collected by Terra Cycle, who turn them into plastic pellets used to make park benches and plant pots.

Right, here we go - this is how you can have a more sustainable student Christmas.


As convenient as ordering presents online can be, try to keep in mind the carbon footprint it leaves behind. Because we don’t see the journey from our online order through to delivery, it can be easy for us to forget or not really think about the effect on the environment. Buying local is a great way to get your Christmas gifts without the negative impact of ordering online.

Taking note and heading to your local shops? Make sure to carry a tote bag or another type of reusable bag. They handily fit in coat pockets, backpacks, handbags and bringing your own means you’re automatically cutting plastic bags out of your life.

When you’re buying gifts this year, why not go with a sustainable theme? Re-useable coffee cups and water bottles are always handy to have! If you’re after something a bit different, visit Chester’s zero-waste, plastic free shop – Just Footprints. It has a range of products, from food and beverages to everyday essentials.


A lot of wrapping paper uses things that unfortunately make it non-recyclable – plastic, glitter, dyes. Here’s a few suggestions to make your wrapping environmentally-friendly:

  • Use wrapping paper that can be recycled (if it’s shiny, it definitely can’t be). Brown paper packaging is your best option!
  • Go for paper tape, rather than plastic
  • String or ribbon is a great swap for plastic bows (and they’re reusable!)


Go for LED Christmas lights, they’re far more energy efficient and they last much longer. While we’re on the subject, double check that you’ve turned your Christmas lights off when you leave the house.

If you need some new decorations here are some options for you. Avoid foil tinsel and plastic ornaments - go for either wood or glass decorations instead, or you could give making your own decorations a try.


Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the festive food. But we tend to get overexcited and end up buying far too much. So, this year when you’re sorting out your Christmas food shop, think back to the year before and the food you ended up throwing away. Bet there’s at least one thing you can think of that maybe you don’t need this year.

Christmas Trees

This one can cause some debate – is it better to have an artificial tree that you can re-use or to go for a real tree? Tamara Hunt, Sustainability Officer at the University of Chester, gives us the pros and cons:


Note: if you do opt for a real tree that can’t be replanted, a lot of charities have a Christmas Tree Collection and Recycling Scheme where they’ll pick up for a donation. It’s green and charitable!

Before you go home…

Before you leave your student accommodation for Christmas, switch off all your lights and appliances, and make sure you don’t leave anything on standby.

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