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Sustainable Christmas gifts

Sustainable Christmas gifts ideas for your eco-friendly friends

With the growing consciousness of the fatal effects of climate change, our present-buying habits are necessarily changing…

Not only is buying ethically good for the environment, but it also has positive impacts on the people who produce the products. For example, buying clothes from fast-fashion chains such as H&M, Primark or Topshop is supporting a horrible system of unsafe working conditions and unfair pay in poorer countries. These brands also use lots of synthetic material which release chemicals into local water supplies. When the clothes are inevitably discarded after a year or two of wear, they pollute the earth they’re buried in.

Equally, buying for the sake of buying promotes the manufacture of cheap, plastic materials. So, what on earth can we buy which is kind to the planet?! (And not too harsh on our wallets!) Here are some of my ideas on how to shop sustainably this Christmas:

Ethical fashion:

Obviously, ethical, slow-fashion clothing brands are going to be pricier than Primark. But they last longer, feel nicer and don’t hurt the planet.

TALA is a new company based in London, with clothes being produced on a relatively small-scale in Portugal. They use fabric offcuts and recycle plastic materials, great for the gym and for the planet!

I’ve recently discovered Lucy and Yak, a fun local company famous for their dungarees, who uses organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles. They emphasise their efforts to support the tailors who make their clothes—in fact, they pay their workers four times the state minimum wage.

Plant Faced are another brand which are very conscious of the material we put on our skin! Water-based inks and organic cotton make up their edgy designs. Non-tangible gift ideas:

Instead of buying clothes, another idea for Christmas is making a donation on behalf of someone to a homeless charity.

There’s also the option to directly help the planet by supporting animals through WWF. They offer one-off donations from as little as £5 if you don’t want to commit to the subscription.

Zero-waste:

Something that I’ve asked for this Christmas is a reusable pen so I’m not constantly discarding my biros at un. A fountain pen not only looks really fancy, but it can be used indefinitely, so won’t add to landfill. It can be refilled using ink which comes in a glass jar, so it’s all recyclable.

Gift cards:

Gift cards are perfect sustainable Christmas gifts. Speaking of gift cards, these are an easy option for letting people pick their own gifts. This avoids wasting money and resources on unwanted presents.

Here are a few gift card ideas:

  • Kindle or e-reader voucher
  • Lush
  • freepeople - an expensive ethical clothing brand
  • Costa Coffee
  • An experience, like a cocktail making class - check Groupon for deals
  • If all else fails, a gift card for a restaurant is always a good save!

Of course, if none of these appeal to you, there’s always the option of making something. For example, a home-made scrapbook or photo album wouldn’t go amiss!

Click here for more information on how to have an eco-friendly Christmas.

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