It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but with the increasing awareness that we need to be kinder to our planet, sustainable shopping in the build-up to Christmas can seem daunting and overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve got you covered this festive season and have chosen some of our favourite eco-friendly gift ideas, as well as some tips on how to shop sustainably this Christmas. Caring about the planet doesn’t mean we have to give up on gifts.
Despite the difficulties faced by small businesses during the pandemic, 2020 was the year of pandemic entrepreneurs and saw the record launch of a record number of start-ups.
Arts and crafts stores had a boom in sales, no doubt a large contributor to this rise in new small businesses, resulting in a wide array of shops creating wonderfully unique and personalised items. Shopping at Christmas markets and independent high street stores or online from websites such as Etsy and Notonthehighstreet are great ways to support small businesses whilst finding a bespoke and thoughtful gift.
2021 Holiday Gift Guide
If you have no idea where to even start, you’re buying for someone who is interested in zero-waste products or you have a secret Santa which you are completely clueless about, hampers are a great gift. There are hundreds of sellers on Etsy putting together gorgeous eco-friendly hampers of confectionary, candles, reusable beauty products and more.
Reusable Water Bottle or Coffee Cup
I love buying these as gifts for people because it’s the sort of thing you can never be bothered to spend money on yourself, but they can be huge money savers and prevent unnecessary waste from single-use plastic bottles and coffee cups. With such a wide array of sizes and colours now available, you can be sure to find a gift perfectly suited for anyone in your life.
Renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, cork is useful for a lot more than just bottling your favourite wine. Harvested from the bark of the Quercus Suber tree, it can be easily stripped off without causing any damage to the tree, thus supporting biodiversity and meaning cork trees absorb 3-5 times more CO2 as it is required for the cork bark to regenerate itself. From pencil cases to yoga mats, cork is a winner when it comes to sustainable gifts.
Gone are the days of single-use tampons and sanitary pads with embarrassingly loud packaging – I (almost) look forward to that time of the month with period pants. They’re cost-effective, seriously comfortable and zero-waste. Other sustainable period products include moon cups and reusable pads, and whilst they may not the most glamorous of gifts, they will be one of the most used and appreciated.
More skincare brands are steering towards eco-friendly products and packaging, and we are living for recycled glass packaging, solid face cleansers and vegan and cruelty-free products.
Brands like UpCircle, Facetheory and Lush are great places to start looking into sustainable skincare and have a variety of handy gift bundles available.
JBL Flip 5 Eco Edition Speaker
For music lovers, we have the eco edition of JBL’s iconic Flip 5 speaker. It’s waterproof, made from 90% recycled plastic, has eco-friendly packaging and still sounds amazing.
Veja was created so that you don’t have to compromise design for social responsibility; they buy organic cotton directly from farmers in Brazil and Peru whilst putting so much thought and care into every step of the process of making their footwear. Veja is a no-brainer if you’re looking for running or lifestyle trainers.
We all want to look good and feel supported in our gym wear. Tala allows you to do this whilst shopping consciously by creating a sustainable alternative to fast fashion activewear with plantable gym tags, 100% recyclable packaging, and a commitment to treating workers at every stage of development fairly.
BOTTLE TOP Handbags
Genius and gorgeous. BOTTLE TOP is repurposing at its finest, creating statement bags using hand-crocheted upcycled metal tabs and can ring-pulls. The Bottle Top Foundation supports grassroots health education charities that empower young people to protect themselves and make healthy choices, as well as supporting NGOs that are dedicated to advancing the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Top Tip: Once you’ve found the perfect gift, try wrapping it with recyclable wrapping paper and tape to prevent reams of paper from being thrown in the bin. Or if you’re looking to really spruce up your gift, why not go for a two-in-one and wrap it up with a vibrant scarf.
Tayla Howie – Features Writer – British Thoughts