Like all things, starting something is the most difficult part .....
When I started to seriously think about reducing my plastic use and making less waste around 2 years ago, I was overwhelmed. Everything seemed to be wrapped in plastic, especially food. I didn’t know where to go, what or not to buy or whether I was really making a difference. But like everything it is an on going journey of discovery and I won’t lie, it takes not just lots of time but a lot of planning.
THE SEASON OF OVERINDULGENCE
So then there’s Christmas, the season of overindulgence and commercialism. I personally love giving and receiving presents, so I wondered how I can do this with less negative impact on the world?
Firstly, I emailed all my close family and friends (those with whom we exchange gifts) and suggested that we all just stop and think about what we're doing this year.
These are some of the things I suggested:
Firstly 'Refuse': Do I / they need it? I think this is difficult as if I'm honest we're all so used to having lovely things, and generally they are really cheap. But are they? Think about the true cost, how they’re made? Do the receiver need it and 'will they love it'?
Reduce - This may mean only one present per person, in big families that may be a 'secret santa' type of approach or buy consumables, chocolate, home made sweets, soap…
Recycle - You could decide to get some of your presents from a charity shop or re-gifting things that you already have but don't love, to someone who would.
Reuse – As above, re-gift those things in your cupboard (try not to give it back to the person that gave it you!)
Refashion - Take something you have and turn it into something new. Make a tote bag of an old t-shirt or a pillow case.
Rather than giving a thing, you can give someone an experience, such as a ticket to the cinema or the theatre or pottery course. Something you know they might appreciate. These gifts will usually live longer in the receivers memory than an item.
Or you could just donate money to a worthy cause, unfortunately there is lots of need out there.
If you resort to buying something new, buy something that is plastic free and give your money to an independent local business, rather than a big chain store.
And here's some ideas on how to WRAP your presents sustainably