Christmas, Easter and Halloween are just a few of the special occasions where consumerism hits an all time high.
Keeping in mind the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle. If our aim is to reduce what we buy, here are some questions to ask yourself before buying:
- Why do I want to shop less?
- Do I actually need it? Do I already own something that would do the job?
- Will I use it regularly? Do I have room to store it? Could I borrow it?
- Could it wait a while?
- Is this item going to add value to my life? Will it bring me joy?
- Is having this thing more important to me than my goal of [insert goal here]?
- Am I willing to put the time in to maintain this item (dry clean only / dust /repairs)?
- If the item was full price, would I still buy it?
Thinking outside of the (gift) box
Noone disputes that it’s lovely to receive a gift.The time and trouble someone has taken to think of you or your child is very special. But what if that gift didn’t rely on “buying more stuff” and therefore reduced our consumption? What if the gift was second-hand, or homemade? What if the gift wasn’t something that was unwrapped, but an experience, or an IOU voucher for some time with a friend or family member?
Normalising second-hand gifts is key to the concept of reducing. Make it known you’d happily accept a second-hand gift and try giving second-hand gifts
When a purchase is required, buy it second-hand if possible, or try to find a sustainable option (experiences, donations to a favourite charity or cause, days out, or IOU vouchers for time with a friend or family member all make great gifts, for example).
There are so many ways to buy second-hand, from local Freebeecycle groups, to online marketplaces (eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Vinted). For non-digital options, you can’t beat a good charity shop or boot fair. You can find great quality items, save a fortune and massively reduce the environmental impact of that purchase. Good for the planet and for your pocket!
Homemade gifts have always had an extra special meaning for the recipient, but time pressures have meant many families have stopped doing this. It’s time to find time. The Hub runs all sorts of crafting sessions to help with ideas, inspiration and skills. Spending time together at one of our workshops is also a great family experience. YouTube is a gold mine of ideas and tutorials – and of course Pinterest; you can search by age appropriate activities. Or what about the homemade items that come home from school? Can they be repurposed into gifts for family members?
Thank you for the kind invite, We’re trying to put the planet right.
This gift here has been loved before, But still has much more fun in store.
We love our world, and hope you see, A gift sent with love to you from me.
(Thanks to Leila Allsopp for this beauty!)
All wrapped up
If you are giving a gift, try making reusable gift bags. Even better, reusing old clothing to make them lessens the environmental impact of the piece of clothing too. The Hub frequently runs reusable gift bag workshops, giving you the skills and confidence to make as many as you need.
Each Christmas, the UK consumes around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. That’s equivalent to 108 million rolls or around 50,000 trees. Almost all of this ends up being burned or sent to landfill as it simply cannot be recycled. The shiny and glittery paper is formed of microplastics, and poor quality wrapping paper is too weak in structure to be recycled. Glitter ends up in our seas and in the stomachs of marine animals. It’s fatal to them.
Even when paper says it can be recycled, it often isn’t because sellotape is attached and recycling plants can’t distinguish between specific types of wrapping paper.
Reusable gift bags cut down on consumption of wrapping materials, the impact of producing those materials and disposing of them afterwards, plus they’ll also save you money!