Updated: Sep 22
Conscious gifting, it’s giving a gift that a person actually wants. It’s choosing a gift that they will be able to use for a long time. Sometimes, a high quality product that lasts may not be marketed as “eco” but has better environmental credentials than cheaply made products hopping on the green bandwagon. When it comes to gift giving, less is often more, give fewer, more meaningful gifts, and save the planet from unwanted gifts that may make their way straight to landfill.
How do we set about making better choices when giving gifts? Here are a few rules to apply when deciding what to give and how to give it.
1. Buy Quality.
Make sure that you buy gifts that are made to a high standard, high quality is more often found in items that are produced with care, in small quantities by people that care. High quality items will likely last much longer than their cheap counterparts, and as a result, are a more environmentally friendly option. Is the higher quality item more expensive? Maybe, one way to get quality items at manageable prices is to look for preloved items, these are the same excellent quality items at a fraction of the cost!
2. Look for gifts made with eco-friendly materials.
There are many businesses that are choosing to work with recycled and repurposed materials, carefully considering where they source them, and using more eco-friendly production processes. These items often have lower environmental costs associated with them, and since the planet is clearly important to the companies, they may help fund environmentalism through projects like 1% for the planet, or their own projects, like NAUTRA’s NGO partnership programme.
3. Use environmentally friendly gift wrapping.
An easy way to reduce the negative environmental impact of your gift is using an alternative reusable or eco-friendly gift-wrapping method. Butcher paper, newspaper, or even brown paper bags from the grocery store are all great options as these materials are recyclable or in some areas compostable. If you want something a bit more colourful there are purpose built reusable cloth wrappings, which are printed in a huge variety of patterns, an alternative is cloth handkerchiefs, or scarves.
4. Waste not, want not.
Research shows that on average, we each receive two unwanted Christmas gifts on Christmas. More worryingly, an estimated 10% of these will end up in landfill. That equates to £42 million of unwanted Christmas presents simply thrown out each year. So what can we do to reduce this waste?
One idea is to make a wish list to let people know what gifts you’d like to receive – and ask them for theirs. Most people will be grateful for the ideas, and by getting the presents you actually want, there’s less likelihood you’ll need to throw anything away. If you’re part of a large family or have a lot of people to buy for, think about banding together and buying each person one special gift from all of you. An alternative but similar idea to reduce worry, waste and expense, without dulling the Christmas spirit, is doing secret Santa!
5. Shop local.
Since leaving the EU single market, importing gifts from abroad has become more costly. Monetary cost is not the only cost to consider though. Aside from removing the import fees and delivery issues resulting from customs, buying gifts that are made and sourced as locally as possible lowers the carbon footprint of your present significantly. The more locally your product is sourced and produced, the fewer miles your order will have to travel and, therefore, the better it is for the planet.
6. Environmentally friendly packaging.
Last but not least, seek out sellers who use recycled or compostable packaging. Many businesses are committed to reusing packaging materials, giving a second, third or even fourth life to old bubble wrap, envelopes, tissue and cardboard – protecting your order at the same time as protecting the planet!
Remember, Christmas can be a stressful time of year, so try your best with sustainable gift giving, you don’t have to be perfect. What the planet needs is everyone doing their bit, as best they can.
Merry Christmas from all of us here at NAUTRA, keep doing your best for the planet and we will too! Join us again for our next instalment of the weekly blog in the new year!