Zero waste Christmas crackers

Filed in Blog by on November 14, 2008 13 Comments
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zero waste christmas cracker or a load of rubbish?A quick post from me today. I’m going to start doing a series on having a zero waste Christmas. I’d love to hear your thoughts about what topics you would like covered.

For today, I know that John asked about crackers, so zero waste crackers it is!

Do they exist? Or is every box of crackers filled with cheap plastic gimmicks that end up in the landfill after Boxing Day?

Well I have a couple of suggestions and I’d like to hear yours.

First, if you’re short of time but not strapped for cash, then you can buy beautiful ‘Eco crackers’ from Biome Lifestyle.

Their Christmas crackers are made from seed paper, which means the recipient can plant it after use. Inside the crackers is an eco tip (love it!) and a small gift, which will range from a felt fair trade Christmas decoration, felt broach, finger puppets and fair trade key rings.

For the kids among us, you still get a snap, joke and Christmas paper hat, but there doesn’t appear to be a gram of plastic in sight.

These crackers, from Hotel Chocolat contain the much-needed party hat and joke, but instead of rubbish toys, you get quality chocolate – they are sure to be no waste! It looks like the cracker itself is cardboard, but if you’re tempted to buy them it might be wise to check they are not foil lined first.

For all you crafty types, you can find Christmas cracker templates online or in craft magazines (I found one a while ago, but can’t find it again this morning). This is the best way to ensure you get exactly what you want and is ideal if you have children because you can put a small wooden toy in them along with the hat and joke.

Snappers can be bought from eBay or craft supply shops and you could buy handmade or recycled paper or better still, use up scraps from your own art supplies.

Personally I would do away with crackers altogether. For me they are one of the most wasteful part of Christmas, but Little Miss Green would end up in therapy if I said no to them, so I’ll be using one of these as a zero waste alternative.

What about you?


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (13)

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  1. esther says:

    we don’t use the crackers overhere, so that’s one waste thing we are likely noit to have…I’m planning on giftwrap ideas that I put on my blog and try to make most og my gifts myself…thnigs made with love, in my opinion, is worth so much more…

  2. I’m with you Mrs G – I don’t like crackers and as for those silly hats that just fall off yer head every time you turn to talk to someone…bah humbug, what a silly invention. These ones look like a good alternative though for the fun loving guys and gals who don’t want to do without.

    We’ve made our own hats over the last couple of years from card that we’ve had to get for our school plays. This year I’m planning on making simple table favours with an edible treat rather than a piece of tat, and getting Mr A to write up some crap jokes. A couple of years ago I tried making our own crackers, but the snappers had no crack in them and the sound was replaced by a unison chorus of a pantomime booo! πŸ˜€

  3. Deb from Boston says:

    To reduce waste this holiday season, I’m planning on making and using furoshki – Japanese fabric gift wrap instead of paper. Or at least start with my own immediate family and then build up my supply over time to give away. For others I may use gift bags, since I know many people will re-sue them vs. paper sheets that get tossed immediately.

    Directions to make your own furoshiki can be found at

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Things made with Love, Esther – what could be better πŸ™‚ It’s a shame my french isn’t fluent; I can’t read your posts πŸ™

    Mrs A – it sounds as if you have had some cracking adventures in your time . LMG just won’t do Christmas without her crackers, so I have no choice but I will be coming up with a cunning zero waste idea I hope.

    Hi Deb, the furoshiki looks wonderful – we’ll be covering wrapping paper at some point and this will have to be included! Thank you for sharing the link with us πŸ™‚

  5. Ah, this is something we don’t have to worry about in the US. Pretty much no one here does crackers at all!

  6. Average Jane says:

    My favourite low/zero waste Christmas present is a donation to someone’s favourite charity. It doesn’t require wrapping paper, helps someone else, and feels good to give.

    I’ve been doing this for years, even before I started saving my garbage because I noticed a long time ago that everyone I knew already had everything that anyone could ever wish for.

  7. maisie says:

    We do have crackers, mainly for DS2, as like LMG he’s still young enough to want things like this.
    I have however had a box for 3 years now as there is only the 4 of us for Christmas Day Dinner, so this year will be the last from that box and I will have to make a descision for next year.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    Kristen; I’m amazed at that. I thought you guys did everything in spades LOL! Any excuse for glitter and excess!!

    Average Jane, charitable donations are a great present. As you say, most people in our culture have more than they possibly want or need.

    Sounds like that is one frugal box of crackers, Maisie πŸ˜€

  9. Art says:

    I’ve been making Christmas crackers for years reusing almost every part for a decade. The “paper” is Christmas print fabric cut and sewn into tubes that fit over 6″ lengths of PVC piping. Ribbons gather the overhang and keep the contents of the crackers from falling out and create the classic cracker shape. The contents vary from year to year but usually involve a snapper, candies, a scratch lottery ticket and a gift that is usually a keeper instead of something that is tossed away… a nice fountain pen, a penknife, a piece of jewellery. You can custom make each cracker for each guest’s taste.

    Unfortunately, my supplier of snappers (Lewiscraft) has gone out of business and I’ve been unable to find a new supplier. Anyone have recommendations? (I’m in Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

    Also, our extended family hasn’t used wrapping paper in years. We use sheets of Christmas print fabric and cloth ribbons to wrap all our gifts. The fabric and ribbons are carefully saved every year, given a quick iron and reused over and over again. We’ve even sent and received gifts from overseas back and forth all wrapped with the same familiar fabrics! The best way to start this up is to wait for the sales after Christmas, the fabrics are usually dirt cheap then! Stock up and store them away for next year!

  10. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Art,
    i Love your suggestions – thank you so much for sharing them with us. Your crackers sound gorgeous and the scratch lottery ticket sounds like a fun gift!
    Your Christmas print fabric instead of paper is an awesome idea – really innovative and so special.
    I hope someone comes up with a suggestion for the snappers – I bought my last lot from eBay πŸ™‚

  11. Kris says:

    I bought some in the past from the craft shop Fourmark in Montpellier, Cheltenham. I’m not sure if they still do them, but the shop is still there.

  12. Tamie says:

    Hello Art,

    I’m not sure if you found your snappers yet but I’ve been told that they sell them at Micheal’s. (Craft shop)

  13. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Tamie – love your gravatar; it looks like you might have your hands full! Thanks for popping by to tell us about Micheal’s πŸ™‚

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