Christmas markets across the country are in full swing. But as we hit the stalls over the next few weeks, many of us will have trouble finding gifts which are suitable for those who are passionate about saving the planet. Read on as we take a look at how best to shop for the eco-warrior in your life this Christmas…
Eco-friendly Christmas gifts
If your eco-friendly friend is also a bit of a foodie, why not go in search of some Fairtrade alternatives? Fairtrade chocolates and sweets are two examples of presents that you can buy ethical substitutes for as their manufacturing process has been designed to have minimum effect on the environment. This type of friend might also appreciate zero waste sandwich wrap, a 100% natural alternative to cling film and plastic sandwich bags. These products are also BPA free, which means it’s been manufactured from non-toxic plastic — another advantage that they’ll appreciate!
Or, perhaps they’d enjoy some eco-friendly beauty products? If you’re going to buy them shampoo, make-up, deodorant, moisturiser or something similar, look out for a paraben-free version. Some researchers believe that the use of parabens is harmful to the environment and your recipient might think the same — it’s certainly something to avoid when gifting! You can search for these sorts of products online and you can even get natural deodorants in the form of roll-on or balm.
Why not get creative and with some upcycling? Transform furniture and home accessories with some crafty skills, a lick of paint and some upholstery. You could make someone a footstool or a new bedroom mirror with this method, and potentially save some money. Your eco-warrior friend will appreciate you transforming something that would otherwise be going to waste too! Take this vinyl wall clock kit too for example, where you can make your own clock our of an old record. If you’re not feeling in the mood for makeshift, you can shop upcycled gifts that other people have created such as a quirky upcycled toothpaste pencil case.
There are plenty of eco-friendly stocking fillers available too! Have you considered a bamboo toothbrush for example? These are BPA free and viewed as an eco-friendly alternative to regular plastic toothbrushes. Chemical free lip-balms and hand creams are other good ideas.
It’s likely that your eco-friendly recipient will want you to be conscious of how much gift wrap you’re using. Unfortunately, a lot of wrapping paper goes to waste as it can’t be recycled because it’s either made from foil or covered in plastic tape. What are your alternatives?
Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping up gifts in a reusable cloth, this technique dates back to the 1600s but it has been brought back in recent years as people search for ways to avoid unrecyclable wrapping paper. You could wrap up gifts in a scarf which could then be a gift in themselves!
Instead of purchasing a gift box which may contain materials that are not recyclable, why not make your own? Use biodegradable paper and a template for a gift box to create a box for all presents. You could decorate these yourself or ask children in the family to draw a special picture on — it’s sure to be cherished.
You could also use brown recycled paper as opposed to foil-based paper. With this, you can achieve a simple but effective look, use a water-based ink to customise each gift. You can also purchase eco-friendly wrapping tape and paper ribbons which are both biodegradable and not harmful to the environment.
Sending Christmas cards
Gifting a present that’s entirely eco-friendly doesn’t stop at the gift and the wrapping paper either. Take it to the next step and ensure that your greeting cards and gift tags are made from biodegradable paper.
For something a bit different why not buy living paper? This paper is 100% recycled and has seeds embedded into it. It can then go onto be planted and plants such as wildflowers, herbs and vegetables can grow in its place — an extra present!