5 tips for choosing an eco-friendly Christmas gift

Parecel wrapped in brown paperImage used for illustration purposes only.

Sustainability is becoming more important to so many of us and, with Christmas just around the corner, you may want to start thinking of gifts that will match your eco-conscious values. This months blog has been written by Jack Jahan, from the pre-loved jewellery retailer Ramsdens Jewellery. He shares his top tips for finding the perfect present that won’t cost the planet.

We’ve all had a tough year, with the pandemic ruining our plans and keeping us from our loved ones. But, with Christmas just around the corner and talk of the restrictions being lifted to allow us to be with our family over the holidays, you may want to start your festive shopping sooner rather than later.

There’s no doubt that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most wasteful if you’re not careful. In fact, statistics from GWP Group revealed that £42 million’s worth of unwanted Christmas gifts end up in landfill each year, as well as over 82km2 of wrapping paper. So, if you’re still on the hunt for the perfect present, why not think of something that will also help save the environment? Here, I’ll be sharing some of my top tips for selecting an eco-friendly gift that your loved ones and the planet will adore.

Create your own gifts at home

If the pandemic has left you with a little less Christmas spending money than you’d have hoped, you can still give great gifts on a budget. The most sentimental gift you can give is one you’ve put your heart and soul into and have created with your loved one’s interests in mind. For example, a scrapbook with all of your great memories together will be a beautiful keepsake that is sure to raise the recipient’s spirits after a tough year.

If you wanted to spoil someone with some new homeware, you could try your hand at pottery which you can then decorate. This won’t just save you a nice chunk of money that can be better spent when we have more freedom, but it’ll also be a step in the right direction for reducing the demand of new items. As the gifts will have been made by you, they’re sure to be appreciated and you can make sure they’re unique.

Buy pre-loved jewellery

Jewellery is one of the most sentimental gifts you can give to a loved one, especially when you pick something with meaningful details like their birthstone gem. Instead of heading to the high-street to pick up some dress jewellery, I’d recommend searching for some jewellers that sell quality, pre-loved pieces. Not only does this usually work out a little cheaper than buying something totally new, but you’ll be helping to reduce the demand for jewellery production, which can have harmful effects on the environment, such as the erosion of land and toxic leakages into waterways.

Any reputable jeweller will thoroughly inspect pre-loved items before accepting them and paying the seller, but don’t be afraid to ask to inspect the piece yourself for any marks or damage not stated on the certificate. An added advantage to buying pre-loved pieces is that you could find some super rare or unique jewellery that is sure to dazzle your loved one this Christmas.

Purchase clothes made from recycled materials

Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to global waste, with Greenpeace reporting that £140 million’s worth of clothing is sent to landfill every year. And, with man-made materials having significantly slower decomposition rates than synthetic fabrics, it’s clear we all need to be focussing on the materials the clothes we buy for ourselves and others are made from.

Luckily, there are plenty of brands producing organic and recycled ranges to help save our planet, so you won’t have to compromise on style when looking for eco-friendly clothing. When shopping for your loved ones this Christmas, look out for tags that highlight how the clothing material has been sourced. Anything that has been recycled and repurposed in some way will be much better than brand new clothing.

Choose plant-based plastics

It’s no secret that we are facing a global plastic crisis, with figures showing that eight million tonnes of plastic waste end up in our oceans each year (National Geographic). So, if you’re vowing to use less plastic when gifting this year, you’ll be pleased to hear there are such things as plant-based plastics. Also known as bio-plastics, these materials take up much less natural resources and require less harmful production processes.

When shopping for gifts and packaging, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for plant-based plastics that are marked as being biodegradable. This means that anything you choose, including wrapping or decorative packaging elements, can be broken down by bacteria or other living organisms, so they won’t clog landfills.

Buy items that will last

The most eco-friendly decision you can make when shopping is to gift items that are of a high quality, and that can be kept as a keepsake. Presents like jewellery, watches, and ornaments are designed to be kept for years to come, which means they’re less likely to end up in landfill.

So, when choosing Christmas presents this year, don’t be tempted to do a last-minute panic buy. Think carefully about what your loved ones would appreciate, and how you can select a present that they can cherish for years. This could include asking yourself about the durability of the item, the size, and the functionality of it.

Reduce your environmental impact this Christmas by choosing eco-friendly gifts for your loved ones. They are sure to be appreciated and, best of all, they won’t come at the cost of the environment.

I hope you have enjoyed this months guest blog by Jack Jahan from Ramsdens Jewellery.

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