Welcome to the 5th edition of the Everyday Eco series, tracking down ways to reduce our impact on the environment without breaking the bank.
This week: Eco-friendly Christmas shopping tips
We're already well into the Christmas advert season so, for those who haven't yet completed their Christmas shopping (who has, and how smug are you?!) I thought it would be nice to gather some hints and tips on how to be kinder to the planet, and your bank balance, while finding that perfect something for everyone.
Scroll on to learn more.
About our stuff (a shameless plug)
I may be biased, but whether it's a beanie or cap as a stocking filler, or gifting one of our cost-saving bundles, I do think Falling Leaf Clothing makes the perfect Christmas present!
Clothing is something we all use on a daily basis, and with cosy layers, sustainable ethos and unique Scottish photography twist, you get the quadruple benefit of giving something useful, a bit different, from a local brand, guilt free! And (since affordable sustainability is always the aim) you can choose one of our bundles and save money too.
Giving the perfect gift to every single person you love is such a challenge, particularly with online shopping meaning that people have easy access to what they want, whenever they want it.
A massive £42 million worth of unwanted gifts are sent to landfills each year in the UK alone, and overall waste is fifteen times that of any other celebration throughout the year.
But what if you could get the perfect gift for everyone, without all that impact on our poor planet?
Some quick wins
There are loads of opportunities to save waste - and potentially money too - when it comes to your Christmas shopping.
Shop local: save the transport carbon footprint and support your local economy.
Examples: attend local fairs and markets, visit local shops, or shop with local retailers online through Etsy or Notonthehighstreet.
Shop second hand: one man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say.
Examples: toys, clothing, jewellery, watches, tech, art...all sourced from charity shops, vintage retailers, antique stores, or online from Ebay, Gumtree, Freecycle, Vintage etc.
Make your own: if you're feeling crafty, why not go for that personal touch.
Examples: baked goods, jams, chutneys, pickles, chocolates, flavoured oils, decorations, macramé, potted plants, wall art...
Gift an experience: whether you take part too is up to you!
Examples: a show, concert, local restaurant, activities like axe throwing, karting, ceramic painting, zookeeper for the day, trips away...so many options.
Give a membership: a whole year of experiences.
Examples: the National Trust, the Woodland Trust, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a local zoo...
Support a charity: loads of charities offer a variety of ways to gift support for worthy causes.
Examples: Oxfam, WWF, Soil Association.
Give a subscription: whether for something to read, eat, wear, drink or use, it's another gift option that keeps giving after Christmas.
Examples: a year of Positive News issues, a local veg box, monthly coffee or tea packs, chocolate, cake, flowers, gin, wine, whisky or ready-made cocktails.
Give green: plants are great for cleaning the air but also lifting your mood.
Examples: a terrarium, hanging plant, outdoor planter or a kit with seeds for them to grow their own fruit and veg.
Introduce them to a sustainable lifestyle habit: gift starter kits.
Examples: smol (eco-friendly cleaning products), Wild Natural deodorant, create your own sustainable cosmetics intro set - even Falling Leaf Clothing has a starter kit!
Support nature: and help them to benefit from making new friends.
Examples: Hedgehog houses, bird feeders, Beevive.
Give as a group: if you know someone has something in mind that they really want but it's outwith your price point, get together with others to buy it together or have a whipround towards it.
Examples: gift vouchers for a particular jeweller, flights or train tickets for a particular trip, or an e-gift card for their favourite whisky or clothing brand.
Give your time and expertise: if you have a skill you could share, why not?
Examples: teach someone to knit, garden, sew or bake, give your professional time, or offer to clean, tidy, visit, garden, babysit, house sit, dog walk...
Regift: just make sure it's not to the person who gave it to you in the first place!
Examples: if you have too many unused toiletries, or loads of festive food you could turn into a hamper, or are drowning in candles, or have clothing or jewellery you never wear, a bike you've grown out of, toys you'll never use...
Buy sustainably and ethically: of course you can still buy new, but it's worth making sure you buy from good sources.
Examples: Good On You, Sustainable Department Store, The Good Shopping Guide, Wearth London, The Ethical Superstore, The Plastic Free Shop. Also, look for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Energy Star and Palm Oil Free products.
Some final tips
Search more sustainably: instead of Google or your usual search engine, try Ecosia - the green search engine that plants trees as you search, using ad revenue. Ecosia considers itself a social business, claiming to be CO₂-negative, supports full financial transparency and protects the privacy of its users. It's also B Lab-certified, meeting its standards of accountability, sustainability and performance.
Don't forget to take your reusable shopping bags with you!
FLC at home
Over the years I've made a lot of gifts, from fancy flavoured marshmallows to Christmas tree decorations. It does add a second layer of stress if the goods you make have a short use-by time, as I always think I'll have enough time to make them all and end up panicking at the last minute between parties and family visits, so I think this year we'll be taking a few tips from the list above to lighten the load a bit!
What about you?
So, which of the above tips do you already use? Do you have any others that you'd like to share? Comment below, or send us a mail at email@example.com and you could feature in our next issue!
Thanks for reading :)
Founder, Falling Leaf Clothing