With Christmas just around the corner, it's a time to be more conscious of our choices as we are bombarded with offers on the high street and in our inboxes. Even the most resolute amongst us can’t always stand the test of marketing geniuses' exciting deals. Trust us, you are not alone in feeling pressured into buying something you don't really need. We hated our mailboxes getting spammed with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales deals that created a sense of false urgency...
It is a time when a ridiculous amount of single-use plastics are purchased, and a lot of unnecessary waste is generated. Let this sink in. We throw out around 300,000 tonnes of card packaging each year, and the amount of garbage we dispose of during the Christmas period shoots up by 30%.
The good news is, it is indeed possible to have a festive, ethical and plastic-free Christmas without contributing to these ridiculous figures. Here are a few ideas to inspire you to minimise waste without feeling limited in your choices. These are truly low or zero-waste gift ideas that your friends will love.
Ethical Christmas Gifts ideas
For the fitness freak: Give your health-conscious, yoga-loving bestie a Classpass workout subscription. It will allow them to explore fitness classes in different studios across town at a highly discounted rate. Their activities include pilates, yoga, boxing, mindfulness, meditation and more. Promise, your gift won't come under fire like Peleton's Thanksgiving commercial. Oops, that didn't go down well.
For the book-lover: What is better than the gift of knowledge, the gift that keeps giving? Give your book-loving friends an audiobook subscription. They will thank you for this zero-waste gift that is good for their souls and great for the planet. You have the option of gifting either a book or a membership. You can choose from a whole range of genres including fiction, biographies, podcasts, dramas, and the list goes on. One of our favourites is the Jane Austen British classic Emma which features the endearing Emma Thompson.
For the foodie: Give a zero-waste dinner experience as a gift. Vogue published a guide to the best zero-waste restaurants in London. Our favourite is Silo, the only truly zero-waste restaurant in London. They use local ingredients that get delivered in reusable, refillable containers without any plastic waste. Their mission is to up-cycle before recycling. Even their furniture is up-cycled.
Read our blog on how you can also waste less food during the festive period.
For the aspiring chef: An exciting option for your friends who enjoy cooking are Small Change London's zero-waste cooking classes that teach you how to use every last bit of waste in your kitchen from banana peels to watermelon rind. In London alone, over 900,000 tons of food waste is produced. Once it lands in the landfill, it doesn't naturally decompose, it converts into toxic methane, a greenhouse gas which is over 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. For a zero-waste kitchen, these sustainable cookery classes are the way to go.
For those who love to travel: How about a staycation with the family to recharge in the English country side. Fancy staying in Yurt? Canopy and Stars offer an amazing selection of unique places to stay in the UK. Do consider traveling by train or bus as it emits more than half less CO2 than travelling by car.
For the indulgent: For those who like a little indulgence, give them solid perfume. These are small, travel-friendly and have low carbon footprint of shipping as they come in concentrated solid form and don't require heavy single-use glass bottles for packaging. We love this one from Lush, a UK-based company. They use mostly natural ingredients, few preservatives and have made a commitment to adopt sustainable practices throughout their supply chain. We love that over half of their products don't require any packaging at all. For gift wrapping, they use plastic-free reusable knot cloth wrap which is quite neat.
For the little ones: It isn't always easy to go zero-waste with little ones in the picture. We are happy to report the zero and low-waste movement has reached the kid's world. There are some truly exciting recycled and up-cycled options of clothing, accessories and toys that give materials a second life. Here is a list from Kidly's eco-friendly curation. You can choose gifts made from plastic-free materials, recycled and up-cycled materials, and reusable options.
There has never been a better time to go eco-friendly. Make it your new year's resolution to adopt simple eco-friendly swaps and kickstart your zero-waste journey.
Lastly, don’t stress. Making a few changes is better than making no changes at all. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and a Happy New Year!
At Spruce, our mission is to bring you high quality household cleaning and personal care products that are safe for you, without toxic chemicals and also safe for the environment. Spruce refillable cleaning products are free from single-use plastic packaging.
More on the blog: 10 ways to be more sustainable this Christmas