We all know that feeling, December rolls around and you realise that you’ve not yet started to think about gifts. This is when it can be really tricky to stick to your guns when working to reduce your waste. It’s very easy to get drawn in to gift buying mania and pick up tat.
Resist the feeling that you haven’t done enough or need to spend more. Your ideas are so much better and more personal than 3 for 2 offers or the latest plastic dolly. Choose gifts that your loved one really wants, will use regularly, likes to eat, or actually needs.
Start by asking. It’s the simplest and seemingly most obvious thing in the world, but one that we are sometimes too shy or proud to do. Ask people if there is anything specific they would like. It isn’t rude; it’s helpful, thoughtful and means you are more likely to get it right.
If their gift list is beyond your budget or is made of items you don’t feel comfortable buying, you can always start your friends and family on their own low-waste journey with a set of bamboo travel cutlery. It’s useful, super lightweight and can be carried everywhere in a handbag or rucksack. Perfect for meals on the go, and prevents the need for disposable plastic!
So many food gifts come wrapped in all manner of plastic packaging, but you can avoid this by making something from scratch like biscuits or cakes, or you can make a healthy trail mix to and present it in a clip lid jar with a little ribbon or gift tag! Sometimes the best gifts are the simplest.
You can also give the gift of experience. A lot of the time when people think gift experience, they thing big, grand, expensive gestures like sky diving or sports cars. But it doesn’t have to be like that! Experiences can be as expensive or as cost effective as you like to suit your budget.
The only limit is your imagination! Why not take them for some food at Brighton’s very own zero waste restaurant Silo, or coffee and a chat at their favourite cafe? Take a cookery class at Brighton Cookery School, or go to see a film at Duke of York’s Picturehouse.
Don’t forget about wrapping. Brits use an estimated 900 million metres of wrapping paper each year; that’s enough to gift wrap the globe 22 times! Many people also don’t realise that most wrapping paper isn’t recycleable either. Glitter, metallic details and plastic sellotape can all contaminate the recycling stream.
Why not buy a nice fabric scarf or tea towel and use that to furoshiki wrap your gifts. Reuse old gift bags, or use use eco friendly brown parcel paper to wrap gifts. You can even buy paper tape which can be recycled!
So so what are your thoughts? How are you making your gifts more sustainable this year?