Most of us are back at work and Christmas feels like a distant memory. All of your presents have been put away by now with your glittery wrapping paper on its way to the landfill…
So, I thought we’d take a look at the Christmas period and how we encouraged our staff to think about sustainability when buying gifts this year.
When it comes to Christmas gifts, Brits use on estimate:
- 227,000 miles of wrapping paper – that’s enough to go around the world 22 times!!
- In total 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging ended up in the bin
- 1859 million batteries were used
- And with all this, there was 81 million unwanted presents in the UK and 20 million in Australia. How many of these do you think will be re-sold, re-gifted, recycled or upcycled, and how many are destined to landfill,( or maybe already there)?
However, this doesn’t mean you have to be a scrooge. In our Birmingham office we maintained our festive spirit and promoted our annual office secret Santa to incorporate sustainable principles. This can be applied to gift giving all through the year! Gifts were:
Made from recycled material
Second hand (charity shops purchases are perfect)
Something that encourages ethical living
Or just something you know the person would use and appreciate even if it’s mundane (a box of granola!)
For people we didn’t know so well some inspiration for “ethical” gifts to fit in our £10 budget included:
- Re-usable straws
- Re-useable coffee cups
- A safety razor for those who shave with disposable/cartridge razors
- A book on ethical living/diet/plastic waste
- A charity donation
- Package free soaps and shampoos/conditioners from the likes of Lush
- Lunch boxes
- Reusable shopping bags/totes – there are plenty of funky and funny ones about
- Seed packets or plants
- Special Food and drink, e.g loose-leaf tea
- Homemade baked goods
- Re-useable Christmas crackers (yes this is a thing!)
And to beautifully decorate our gifts and fit with this ethos, we thought it’d be a novel idea to use old drawings from the plotter to wrap up the presents.
The results were fantastic!
People received gifts from charity shops, re-usable straws, coffee cups and a lot of perishables (booze in particular). It was great to see so many people getting involved, and hopefully we can improve on this next year.
Most importantly, people thought about ways to make their Christmas less environmentally damaging and we can all consider these for 2019 when it comes to gift giving. For instance:
- Send E-cards or handmade cards (glitter free of course)
- Use recyclable wrapping paper for presents (brown kraft paper is good value)
- Go veggie for your Christmas dinner or option for organic meat
- Donate your time, money or unwanted belonging to those less fortunate
- If you feel the need to give a gift, follow our ethical gift guide
- Minimise single use plastic purchases for food and gifts – A guide here
So when you’re planning your shopping for 2019 give a quick thought to what positive changes you can comfortably do, every small change makes a difference.
All the best for 2019