All I want for Christmas is a Sustainable Stocking Filler!

12th December 2014

Day 6 of EAUC Sustainable Christmas is Business and Industry Interface

Christmas is a wonderful time of year; when our love for family and friends overflows in the form of gift giving galore. But as you head out to the shops in the run-up to the big day, don’t forget the rules of sustainable consumerism to ensure a (relatively!) guilt-free Christmas.

Here are a few ideas to keep your impact low but still allow you to treat your loved ones;

• Buy second-hand gifts from online sites such as Ebay or from local charity shops – by reusing items you will prevent them going to landfill and if you buy from charity shops the money you spend will help those in need.
• Buy local from small and medium sized suppliers – items made locally will have a lower carbon footprint than items from further afield and you will be helping your local economy thrive. SMEs employ more people per £turnover and are also more likely to be paying their share of taxes than larger corporations.
• For the person who has everything, why not buy them a Good Gift or adopt an animal from a wildlife charity (you can theme it to their interest e.g. donate to a wildflower meadow for a keen gardener or adopt a polar bear for a wildlife lover) – by buying useful and life-changing gifts for others you can help make the world a better place.
• Source sustainable goodies – there are various online stores that specialise in gifts made from recycled products or from eco materials so google eco gifts and take your pick from the wide range available.
• Make a craft present or Christmas card from recycled supplies; get creative and upcycle items from around the house or buy material offcuts to make something from scratch – by reusing and recycling items you will prevent them going to landfill and the gift recipient will appreciate the time and love you have lavished on their gift.
• Buy Fairtrade chocolates, wines, clothing and much more – Fairtrade accredited producers and growers receive better prices and fairer trade agreements and their worker’s basic rights are protected.
• Use recycled or FSC certified Christmas cards and wrapping paper – recycled paper has a much lower carbon footprint and reuses materials; preventing them going to landfill. FSC certified paper comes from well managed forests and does not contribute to deforestation.

University of St Andrews has created a sustainable gift guide and even have a fairtrade gift guide too!

Shopping for presents is an enjoyable element in the build-up to Christmas but the goods you purchase can have a big impact long after the gift has been opened. Follow these simple ideas to ensure that your purchases are truly sustainable and aren’t costing the earth. And then crack open some organic champagne, unwrap the box of Fairtrade truffles and enjoy a fabulous festive season!

What are you doing to avoid Christmas over-consumerism? Head on over to Facebook to weigh in!

Business and Industry Interface is a Framework within Learning in Future Environments (LiFE)
> Check out more resources on 'Business and Industry Interface' on the Sustainability Exchange
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