QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN SHOPPING THIS CHRISTMAS
It is important to be as eco-conscious as possible when shopping for Christmas gifts. This short blog post sets out things to bear in mind when shopping this Christmas.
Could you give a non-material gift?
Lots of companies now offer vouchers for special experience days, or you could arrange something yourself. Some eco-friendly ideas include organising a meal out, a trip to the theatre or a day going vintage shopping. Other ideas include donating to charity on behalf of the person, or adopting an animal for them.
Can you find a gift in a charity shop or second hand?
It is important to cherish items already in existence and give them a new life. Charity shops now have a great selection of items, clothes, book, homeware items, and many other items – plenty to choose from! Or second hand, think vintage shops, World of Books, car boot sales, school fêtes, depop, GumTree, Ebay, the list goes on.
Have you looked into the company you are buying from?
It is great to support independent, sustainable brands and local businesses. This is better for the environment, the local economy and the environmental cause more generally. You could look at what official certifications and awards the company has, or where the profits in the company end up. These are all ways to maximise the positive impact of your purchase.
Have you considered what the product is made from?
There are more and more eco-friendly options available now, such as ECONYL®, Tencel, recycled plastic bottles and many others. For food items, look for locally-sourced ingredients and try avoiding any unsustainable palm oil. For beauty products, you can use the app Think Dirty to find information on the ingredients of a product, and you can also find cleaner products.
Have you thought about where the product is coming from?
The carbon footprint of a product will increase the further it has to travel to get to you, so sourcing products made locally is a good way to make an eco-conscious purchase.
Is the gift going to last?
We are becoming increasingly more aware of the throw away culture our society has created, so to make a gift more eco-friendly, think about how long the gift might last. If you can, spend a little more on the item so it will remain in better condition for a longer time.
Finally, once you have the present, how will you wrap it?
If you need to wrap the item, there are numerous eco-friendly options, such as a gift bag that can be reused, fabric that can be repurposed or upcycled newspaper. Using paper tape, washi tape or reusable ribbons instead of sellotape is another simple way to gift more sustainably.
This post was contributed by Abi (@abithrasher_). Abi is a postgraduate Environmental Law student, and is a passionate environmentalist and animal rights activist, advocating a plant based and low waste lifestyle.