Christmas dinner isn’t the same without a cracker beside your plate filled with hats, silly jokes and treats.
If you’re thinking about having a more sustainable Christmas this year, you can still add crackers to the Christmas table without worrying about the eco-impact.
Your standard Christmas cracker has a bigger impact than just a loud noise at the dinner table. Every year, 40 million Christmas crackers are thrown away.
To put that into perspective, that’s 1,220 Mount Everests stacked on top of each other.
A lot of Christmas crackers come with excess packaging that can’t always be recycled. That’s on top of non-recyclable ribbons, microplastic glitter elements and plastic toys wrapped in, yes, plastic.
Speaking of toys, who remembers what happens to them after the Big Day? Most novelty toys from cheap crackers are downright useless and destined for landfill after a brief stint at the dinner table.
With these factors in mind, all Christmas crackers featured below were judged on the quality of gifts and materials used. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 eco-friendly Christmas crackers for 2021.
These eco-friendly Christmas crackers are made from recycled wrapping paper with festive prints and designs. This year, RSPB swapped ribbons for paper ties which means the entire cracker is recyclable from the box to the gift inside.
Cracker gifts vary depending on the box. Highlights include Christmas tree decorations made from ethically sourced wood, Fairtrade chocolate, RSPB collectable pin badges and a pack of cards.
The pebble team love that all of RSPB’s cracker gifts are designed to last beyond the Christmas season.
They’re perfect family crackers that give you a little extra enjoyment and ease knowing they’re ethical and fully recyclable.
Pros: The entire cracker is recyclable | Transported to the UK via boat instead of plane | £3 off when you buy a pack of 2 | Plastic free
Cons: Quite expensive for a pack of 6 retailing at £15 | Made in China
RSPB’s Christmas crackers are priced at £15 for a box of 6 and £27 for two boxes. View on RSPB here.
If you want to treat yourself or someone else to a personalised, sustainable Christmas cracker, 2 Green Monkeys is the brand for you.
With a cardboard core, they are wrapped in a personalised napkin of cotton fabric and your choice of colours. 100% no plastic and they’re reusable too.
There are no plastic gifts in sight either as these crackers arrive empty. This allows you the chance to truly make it your own by filling them with your own sustainable decorations.
These crackers could even double up as a present too!
Pros: Allows personalisation | Good detailing of product sizes on website | Variety of single 5 pack and 10 pack | Variety of colours | Free Standard UK shipping | Plastic free and reusable
Cons: Expensive for quantity | pebble would like to know more about where the cardboard and cotton come from | They do not pull apart or snap like other crackers | Requires you to fill with gifts
A single fabric cracker from 2 Green Monkeys is £14. A box of 5 is £60 and a box of 10 is £110. View on 2 Green Monkeys.
Here's an environmentally-friendly Christmas cracker that is not only reusable but also pet friendly. These crackers come flat packed so you can fill with your own goodies and fold into shape when ready.
These crackers use Ecosnap which is a silent snap when crackers are pulled, keeping your pet calm. They’re also recyclable.
There is a range of different patterns, including simple plain kraft crackers to draw on and personalise, making them the perfect DIY cracker for families or to give as gifts.
Pros: Reusable | Different shape and design to standard crackers | Perfect for pets and young children | UK based | Materials are recyclable or compostable | Plastic free and reusable
Cons: Only available in packs of 6 | Requires you to fill with gifts
Cracker prices start from £19.95 a pack. View on Keep This...Cracker here.
These eco-friendly crackers are made from 100% recycled card and come in three different styles.
Using a traditional cracker design with intricate patterns, they are a smart and elegant alternative to a standard unsustainable version.
Tailored for an adult audience, they come with gift selections varying from award-winning jam from the Tiny Marmalade Company to handmade soaps by Hogwash.
Pros: Easily recyclable | Premium quality gifts from small businesses | Stunning designs | Ribbons made from recycled plastic bottles
Cons: Expensive | Does not sell in packs higher than 6 | Ribbons are not recyclable
The Little Green Cracker Company’s cracker prices are £45 for a pack of six. View here.
Happy Crackers' reusable crackers are handmade using sumptuous fabric and ribbons to add a luxurious touch to your Christmas table.
Some of them are even reversible so you can switch up the patterns for a new look. Each one comes with a ready to fill carton so there’s no danger of plastic inside.
The 100% cotton or linen fabrics are lightweight and machine washable. Each set comes with its own heirloom gift box to keep them fresh and free of dust.
Take care of them and use them on repeat to save you buying new crackers every year. Less money and less waste!
Look for stocking filler presents with our Christmas Stocking Guide: Sustainable Gifts Under £30.
Pros: Make beautiful gifts as well as crackers | Reusable for any occasion | UK based | Machine washable
Cons: pebble would like to know more about where the fabrics are sourced | Unclear whether ‘Happyfetti’ included is eco-friendly | Unclear whether packaging is plastic free | Expensive
Happy Cracker prices start from £30-35 for a single, £110 for a box of 4, £150 for a box of 6 or £190 for a box of 8. View on Happy Crackers here.
Handmade in the UK, these crackers have a durable cardboard tube made from recycled materials and covered in a choice of 100% ivory cotton or natural linen.
The patterns are minimalist but festive with Scandi Christmas motifs (a pebble favourite), woodland designs and options for monogrammed versions.
These crackers are reusable and designed to last. They also arrive empty, allowing you to get creative with the trinkets and gifts you leave inside.
Check out our Christmas Gifts: 30 Eco-Friendly Ideas For 2021
Pros: Reusable and plastic free | Recyclable cardboard | Option to personalise
Cons: More of a premium price point | Requires you to fill with your own gifts | Does not contain a snap
Kate Sproston’s crackers are £12.50-£13.50 for a single, £75 for a pack of 6 or £125-135 for a pack of 10. View here.
These Christmas crackers come in packs of 6 made from cardboard tubes alongside their 100% cotton coverings.
The striking fabrics make a stunning festive statement at the Christmas table too.
These crackers are created to last. The materials are washable even when food or drink gets spilt on them so they can be reused every year.
No gifts are supplied with these crackers so they can be filled with treats of your choice from homemade sweets to miniature sewing kits and more for whoever is receiving them, making them ideal for families and individuals.
Pros: Suitable for children and adults | More affordable than other competitors | Variety of different designs and patterns | Reusable and plastic free | Machine washable | Stunning festive patterns
Cons: Requires you to fill with your own gifts | No snap | Fabric is 100% cotton but unclear where it’s sourced or what the ribbons are made of
A pack of 6 Christmas crackers starts from £23.60. View on Etsy here.
With 3 designs available for the crackers, each one can be unique and there is the choice to choose paper ribbon for the crackers as opposed to organza.
To top it off, the postal packaging is eco-friendly too. These crackers are perfect for a Christmas get together.
Pros: Gifts included | Use of sustainable materials | Plenty of choice available | High street/lower premium prices | Compostable and recyclable | Plastic free
Cons: Not reusable | One type of gift | Organza is not eco-friendly
A pack of 6 Christmas crackers are £27-£30. A Personalised Christmas cracker pack is £33-£36. View here.
Nancy and Betty is a well-known brand that sells its eco-friendly Christmas crackers in stores such as Harrods, Liberty and Selfridges&Co.
The pebble team loves that for every box of 6 purchased, a tree is planted in partnership with One Tree Planted.
The crackers are recyclable and include an array of gifts such as origami sets, badges, marbles, wooden pencil sharpener, crayons and chalks and star cutters, making them brilliant for families to enjoy.
In addition, its print designs are done with vegetable-based inks and look stunning on a Christmas table. Choose from sophisticated patterns or go fun with elves, reindeer or Santas.
Pros: Huge variety | Affordable (high street) | Based in UK | Recyclable and plastic free | Supports One Tree Planted | Contains premium gifts
Cons: Only sold as packs of 6 | Ribbons are not recyclable
A pack of 6 Christmas crackers are priced at £26- £36. View on Nancy and Betty.
Add some sustainable, neoclassical glam to your festive feast this year with Cox & Cox. These luxury Christmas crackers are handmade in the UK and feature a dainty gold wing design.
Inside, you’ll find gifts such as a miniature grater, star cookie cutter, British wildflower seeds, Clipper hot chocolate sachet, a tiny jar of jam or a honey dipper. No disappointing plastic toys here. There’s also a hat and joke in each cracker.
The crackers are made with sustainably sourced paper and printed with vegetable inks.
The pebble team likes that the crackers can be put in the home recycling. However, the ribbons aren’t recyclable so you will need to reuse and repurpose them.
Pros: Premium quality gifts | recyclable packaging | Elegant designs
Cons: Ribbons are not recyclable | Expensive | Can’t guarantee if the contents are plastic free
Cox & Cox Neoclassical Christmas crackers are £50 for a box of 6. View on Cox & Cox here.
What a conscious Christmas cracker with the excitement of a snap? Say hello to Kaneo.
This brand makes it easier to ditch plastic at the dinner table with its range of seriously stunning upholstery velvet fabric crackers you can reuse every year. Plus, 10% of sales go to the Salvation Army.
There are six styles to choose from to suit your festive decor, including a rich green, pretty floral and Scottish tartan.
You can personalise each cracker with an attachable nametag and set of gold letters then fill it with thoughtful trinkets for your loved ones.
And the best bit? The cracker is complete with a recyclable snap to add some festive fun. Simply pull the cracker gently with a neighbour to get the full effect.
Pros: Reusable | Stunning styles | Contains a snap | 10% of sales are donated to charity
Cons: Pricier than standard crackers | Snap is recyclable but not zero waste
A pack of 6 crackers is priced at £59.00. View on Kaneo.