How create a more sustainable Christmas market?

As many of you know, every year a Christmas market is being organized in Antwerp, like in many other cities and countries. Like many of you, we also went to visit the market to see what it is all about. We noticed that especially the Jenever market was loved by many of our fellow students. However, we could not resist putting on our sustainability glasses to see how sustainable the Christmas market of Antwerp really is. We will therefore give a small report and declare some points of improvement.

Firstly we noticed a lot of plastic cups, especially at the Jenever stand. Since glass is forbidden due to safety regulations, using plastic cups seems a logical solution. However, thinking in sustainable terms, we would suggest using reusable plastic cups or more preferably paper cups because they are more biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

Besides the plastic waste, we noticed a lot of trash in general. A second observation we made is that there are too little trashcans and that the trashcans are congested. This results in plastic cups and waste on the ground. Besides placing more bins, a more sustainable solution is using trashcans out of paper instead of the traditional plastic boxes, like the ones that are being used at the Antwerp Management school.

Thirdly, we noticed a lot of similar market stands and mostly stands containing food and or drinks. More diverse and green stands could really make the difference. This could make the Christmas market of Antwerp stand out, attract more visitors and be more divers.

!! FUN FACT: In 2018 the first zero waste Christmas market of London took place. They promote a zero waste lifestyle without losing the magic touch of Christmas. As a visitor, you can expect a lot of luxurious sustainable gifts like ethical jewellery and organic gin. Finding an original gift is definitely not a difficult task! Furthermore, all vendors use zero plastic packaging and sustainable materials. The market also teamed up with fetchhCup, which is a deposit return scheme for reusable cups in order to reduce the amount of plastic cups.

Another observation that was being made were the transportation means that the owners of the stands use. For the most part, a lot of old vehicles were present, which have a higher emission and are therefore not that sustainable.

In what follows, we give a small overview of the most sustainable Christmas markets in Europe.

  1. The Christmas market of Toulouse – France
  2. The Stockholm Christmas market – Sweden
  3. The Christmas market of Berlin – Germany
  4. The Christmas market of Amsterdam – The Netherlands

We hope to see more sustainable Christmas stands and markets next year. A lot of effort has already been done, but much more initiative needs to be taken.

By Henri Desmet & Barbara Allaert (


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s