Photo and graphics: author

Applying circular principles to make tree decorations more sustainable

Photo: Jeremy Gallman on Unsplash; graphics: author.

Welcome to the Circular Advent! Each day I’ll pick an aspect of Christmas and use circular principles (keep materials and products in use, design out waste, and regenerate natural systems) to explain how we can be more sustainable. Today: Tree Decorations

Keep products in use:

We need to think of decorations as indisposable. Look after them all, but especially the fragile items, keep them out of reach of pets and small children. A lot of our decorations have a story attached to them and are something we treasure. We have cheaper decorations in the house, but we won’t be adding any more.

Design out waste

Think about making decorations from items that otherwise might have been destined for the recycling bin or landfill. Repurpose old gift wrap, tags and cards, but you could take this in any destination you want. Anything saved from the bin is a win.

However, keep one thing in mind: NO GLITTER! I’m going to keep saying this until everyone gets it. It’s horrible, non-recyclable micro-plastic-pollution-in-waiting. Christmas doesn’t have to be so sparkly anyway.

The other alternative to home-make decorations is to think traditional and go for natural materials. Think wood, pine cones, dried fruit, spices.

Regenerate natural systems

The advantage of these natural decorations is that they can be composted at the end of the season or returned to nature to break down naturally.


I’ve created a page for additional resources, which I’ll populate with other ideas and companies who are working in this space. In the meantime, if you have any tips you’d like to share, let me know.