Christmas is just around the corner. A time of novelty socks, roast dinners, gifts and being with loved ones.

It’s also a time when plastic use goes into overdrive and becomes even more exuberant. Those fairy lights and all the accompanying tinsel and baubles.

This year we’re introducing some easy and fun alternatives to help you get into the Christmas spirit – whilst minimising your impact at the same time. Using our SHiFT.How platform, we’ve found 5 plastic-free solutions to help you spread some green festive cheer! From eco-glitter, to gift giving to cosy night in watching documentaries, we’ll help you discover new ways to make a shift this month, and eliminate single-use plastics from daily life!.

So without further ado, here’s a list of some ideas and activities to help you make the most of this festive period whilst implementing some positive changes and reducing the impact we have on our environment.


As the year draws to an end, many will be out celebrating with their friends and colleagues before winding down for a well deserved break.

There is no denying that after a long year it feels great to put on your finest and head out to celebrate. But with all the glitz and glam it’s easy to forget that even tiny things such as glitter can have a lasting impact on the environment.

Glitter is essentially ready-made microplastics, which we all know seems to get everywhere! It’s no surprise that it inevitably ends up in our environment, waterways, and the ocean too. To combat this, companies have developed biodegradable and eco-friendly alternatives, so if you do need that extra touch of sparkle – be sure to use one that is kind to the planet!

Find out more here!


There is lots to think about when it comes to sorting out your Christmas tree. ⁠

⁠Plastic trees, if well looked after, can be reused for decades, and provide a good alternative to purchasing a new tree each year.

⁠However, choosing to go with a real tree, is still a green option. According to the Forestry Commission, real trees use ten times fewer materials than fake ones.⁠

⁠If you opt for a real tree, there are a few things to consider. Try to source a tree from a local farm to reduce carbon emissions from transportation. If you decide to buy a potted tree, though the you pay a heftier price, potted living trees can work out more economical and sustainable in the long term as if repotted and carefully looked after can used for many years to come. However watch out for those with heavily damaged roots as are less likely to thrive, especially in warmer climates. 

⁠If you are feeling especially green fingered, why not buy a box of Christmas tree seeds this year and start growing your own tree!

Beecycle sells Christmas tree seeds that can be started off indoors. When the tree starts to get bigger, plant it outside in a pot and bring it indoors each year.


227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away in the UK each year.⁠

Wrapping paper can be difficult to recycle and, unless you are very careful opening presents, tricky to reuse. Why not try using old newspapers to wrap presents this year instead. Cheaper, greener, and far more convenient!⁠

You could even customise your gifts by choosing specific sections of the newspaper to wrap gifts with, from sports to comics.

Learn more here!


As winter hibernation hits us all, why not sit back and watch a documentary about plastic pollution and see what new and positive changes you can incorporate into your daily life?

There are fantastic documentaries that have hit the streaming platforms over the last few years. They are a great way to learn about plastic pollution from global experts and the impact in places you may not be able to reach in person.

We have selected seven of our favourite documentaries that explore the challenges of plastic pollution and its effect on our environment:


Submerse yourself in the buttery tones of David Attenborough as he takes you on a journey through our blue planet. This award winning series hones in on the challenges currently facing the ocean, and is praised for bringing the plastic issue to the forefront of public attention.


Accompanied by scientists, conservationists and engineers, the film follows the journey of two explorers as they travel to some of the most remote parts of the world, documenting the environmental issues associated with plastic pollution and its impact on the environment, ecosystems and human health.


Made as part of the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, this 45-minute documentary dives deep into the complexities of plastic pollution, gathering information and viewpoints from people across the world. The problem is large and serious, but ‘A Plastic Tide’ gives us hope and shows that there are amazing and inspiring people everywhere trying to solve this problem. As Mumbai-local Afroz Shah says: ‘cleaning up rubbish is addictive’, and we agree. Together we can make a difference.


Wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin works with some of the world’s leading marine biologists and campaigners to reveal the horrors of the plastic issue in this shocking and revealing documentary. It is a difficult, but very important watch about the consequences of our plastic consumption.


In this documentary, a diverse crew of surfers, a musician, spearfisher, bodysurfer and marine scientist embark on a one-week voyage to the Sargasso Sea in search of the infamous patches of floating garbage. Instead what they encounter is an unnerving ‘fog’ of microplastics.


An eye-opening story about the institute’s global mission to study the effects, reality, and scale of plastic pollution around the world. Plasticized is an intimate account of a first-hand journey aboard the Sea Dragon with the 5 Gyres Institute on the very first scientific expedition, focused on plastic waste, through the centre of the South Atlantic Ocean. You can watch this film on YouTube here.


Albatross is a powerful visual journey into the heart of a gut-wrenching environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on Earth, tens of thousands of albatross chicks lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic. Returning to the island over several years, Chris and his filming team witnessed cycles of birth, life, and death of these magnificent creatures as a multi-layered metaphor for our times.

You can also learn more on our SHiFT platform here!



Some lucky individuals may receive the newest phone, ipad or other gadgets for Christmas, but remember reducing the impact of plastic pollution includes ensuring that our longer-term purchases are disposed of correctly too.

The world produces as much as 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) a year so make sure you do your research and find the best way to dispose of your electronics in your area.

Find out more here!


With these just being a few examples of the many ways you can make a change this festive season, we hope that we’ve inspired you to try something new, shift your perspective and hopefully inspire others to do the same!

Help us have a bigger impact and share this article with your friends too.

On the SHiFT platform, there are now hundreds of solutions available at just the click of your mouse and filters that help you refine the options down to the ones that are most appropriate for you.

We don’t need everyone to do everything, but we do need everyone to do something. What will your next SHiFT be?

We encourage you to share your actions across social media to inspire others to join you in making a difference in their own lives, communities, businesses and wider world.


by eXXpedition Team