Zero Waste Gifts from our Christmas Party

Christmas is here, and TerraCycle Europe, like a lot of companies across UK, is celebrating the most wonderful time of the year!

We are TerraCycle, a recycling company, so we like to organise a Christmas Party that is as eco-friendly as possible.

It can be challenging to stay focused on environmental issues during the holidays: food, presents, decorations – every aspect of this celebration seems to impact on our planet…

We would like to share advice from our Christmas celebration, in particular on the gifts we give each other. You could adapt it for your celebration with your family, friends or other events such as birthdays for example.

The best way to make sure that everyone gets a lovely present without impacting (too much) on your wallet and our planet: Secret Santa.

You pick the name of one of your colleagues and offer him/her a present that he/she would like. If you apply this to your family or your friends, it means you only do one present. It will reduce the stress of having to find a bespoke gift for 25 family members between 4 and 85 years old… By doing only one present, you can focus on bringing joy to one special person and make your gift more thoughtful and personal. 

At TerraCycle, we use a website that picks a name for you and makes sure that everyone has a present under the tree! There are several websites that can help you if you are a big or small group of people.

Once you have a person to spoil, you can think about a present that will suit him/her perfectly…In TerraCycle the only rule is, of course, to make a zero-waste /eco-friendly gift!!

There are now around 100 employees in TC Europe, so there were plenty of ideas!

Let me present to you my selection of the best ideas I saw during the Christmas Present opening.

The crafted gifts

Christmas is a good time to look to the past and before buying anything ask yourself: Can I make it?

This is what I decided to do for my present! I know it is a bit old school, but I knitted a headband!  I learnt how to knit with my grandmother a few years ago so I thought it would be easy…Well it has a little bit harder than I thought but I looked for tutorials on YouTube, there are plenty for beginner.

I chose a headband because it’s quick to do but if your secret Santa is a hat or a scarf person it works as well.

My Secret Santa Sara was really happy about her new headband

Why is it Zero Waste? I personally didn’t buy anything because I already had the wool and the needles. Plus, no packaging and no waste because I’ll use the rest of the wool for my next project.  

The edible gifts

A few TerraCycle team members chose the food option! Who doesn’t like food…?  You can bake cookies, muffins, cakes! It is always a win!!

To make it a bit more personalised, it is possible to decorate your cake with nuts or different colours for example. Natacha baked some cute TerraCycle branded cookies:

Nice Christmas cookies

You can also copy Elodie and combine two categories by filling a jar with all the ingredients so the person receiving the present can bake tasty cookies their self.

Ready to bake jar with a card

Why is it Zero Waste? If you have all the ingredients or just buy a bit more flour, you can always use the rest at a later date, and in terms of packaging, simply place them in a glass jar or nice box that can be reused. 

The Zero waste lifestyle gifts

To spark joy at Christmas it could be a good idea to give something that your secret Santa will find useful.

It could be a good opportunity to introduce your loved ones to the zero-waste lifestyle by giving them something to replace everyday disposable objects. For example:  Diane received bee’s wax wraps to keep her food fresh without using plastic or aluminium foil.

Camille received homemade laundry and toothpaste with instructions on how to make it herself when she runs out.

Home made laundry and toothpaste

Why is it Zero Waste? These gifts are made to eliminate the need for single use packaging!


To avoid using wrapping paper which can’t be recycled, you can make your own Christmas wrapping with recyclable paper that you can decorate yourself.

TerraCycle wishes you a merry Zero Waste Christmas !

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