How to Have a Very Merry Green Christmas | Silver

VSChristmas is coming, but this year there should be less wrapping paper and food in the trash as consumers plan to be more environmentally friendly. A Tesco survey found that more than a third of people want to be more sustainable, and research from American Express suggests we’re happy to spend more on ‘green’ gifts.

Michelle Ovens, founder of campaign group Small Business Britain, says some consumers are now deciding to steer away from steep Black Friday-style discounts. “Consumers are looking more for value, not just goods at any price, because that price could be the environment,” she says.

So how can you change your normal shopping habits into more sustainable ones?

Use independent shops

One way is to stick to your local independent stores. Like Sian Conway-Wood, author of Buy better consume lesssaid, it allows money to stay in the local economy and leads to a more thoughtful approach to spending, instead of responding to the marketing of big retailers.

“The culture this creates is one of overconsumption. There’s the idea that we want everything now, but to stop and break away from that sense of urgency – because that’s a marketing tactic they use – you’ll find out if you can’t get it tomorrow, do you still want it? ,” she says.

There are plenty of websites that sell products from a range of independent sites with ethical priorities, so you don’t need to spend time researching different vendors.

“There are hundreds of small freelancers selling on marketplaces like eBay, Etsy and ourselves,” says James Service of Protect the Planet, a retailer of recycled and eco-friendly giftware. “Choosing to buy in these larger markets can protect the consumer [against buying unsustainable products] while supporting independent creators.

In health and beauty, the Detox Market describes itself as a “green beauty market” with cruelty-free standards. Her ‘best green beauty box’, which includes mascara, hair mask, serum, cleanser, eye shadow palette and other products, costs £155.

A set of five products from True Botanicals – a ‘non-toxic’ skincare line – is priced at £130. Plastic Freedom specializes in plastic-free products such as a beard grooming kit (£44) and a set of kitchen utensils and products (£61). Greenbeauty Market sells vegan, natural and organic products, and claims to only work with independent brands.

For clothing, Social Supermarket works with 100 different companies which are evaluated on their social and environmental standards. Ethical Superstore aims to find alternatives to everyday fashion items and has a supplier code of conduct.

With cellphones being a frequent giveaway, Fairphone is a sustainable alternative to big name brands. Its latest model costs £499. The company aims to make phones out of materials that are as ethically sourced as possible and that you can simply take apart and repair.

“Green laundering,” where companies make misleading claims about their environmental credentials, is a growing problem, according to Service. “Buy from a reputable retailer that specializes in this area.”

Ethical consumer The magazine rates companies on their sustainability and environmental credentials. It’s also worth looking for B Corp accreditation, which is given to companies that meet a set of environmental standards.

Buy a second hand

The rise of the circular economy, the idea that products such as clothing and furniture are constantly reused and regenerated to reduce pollution, has led to a number of new ways to buy previously worn clothes.

Online charity retailer Thrift+ takes clothing donations and sells them online, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. A Paul Smith two-piece suit is available for just over £30 and a Hugo Boss jacket for £22.

Oxfam’s online store has an LK Bennett women’s chunky wool coat for £45 and a men’s Burberry blazer for £75.

The homeless charity Shelter has a network of 100 stores. Online, he offers high-end designer goods, including a pair of Stella McCartney platform shoes for £150.

Don’t stockpile, buy less

The most sustainable way to approach Christmas is to simply buy fewer things, or nothing at all. “The most sustainable option is that we don’t buy,” Conway-Wood said.

One of them is to “live experiences”, whether it’s tickets to events, outings or classes. Virgin organizes ‘experience days’, such as making botanical extracts from a wildflower meadow (£50) to an urban beekeeping session in London (£84).

Instead of plastic, choose pots

In addition to gifts under the tree, many other traditions can also be made more sustainably.

According to the Woodland Trust, the most environmentally friendly Christmas tree is one with roots, which can be planted in the garden and brought in next year. If you buy a felled tree, it must be accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which tells you that it has been grown sustainably and ethically.

Another option is to rent a tree, which will be replanted by the supplier during the year. One scheme – Rental Claus from Primrose Vale Farm Shop in Cheltenham – delivers and collects the tree, with prices ranging from £15 to £45.

Stacks of wrapping paper will inevitably end up in the trash, so consumers should keep an eye out for what can be recycled. Avoid anything with glitter or foil, or anything that contains plastic.

An expensive, but even more eco-friendly option is to buy tissue paper with embedded seeds that can be planted in the garden – the leaves are available on Etsy for £18.84 for three.

Don’t binge, eat less

While turkey is the mainstay of Christmas dinner, there are concerns about how soy linked to deforestation is being used as cattle feed. The vast majority of soy is grown in Argentina and Brazil – where there are risks of deforestation due to its production – as well as in the United States.

Tim Martin, from the non-profit Farm Wilder, said consumers wanting a sustainable Christmas would be better off choosing wild-caught game in the UK. It is necessary to cull the deer at this time, he said. At £20 for 1.5kg, it’s reasonably priced.

The RSPCA has issued warnings against buying ‘reindeer food’ to sprinkle in the back garden on Christmas Eve. Store-bought wraps often contain plastics or glitter that are bad for wildlife. Instead, making your own with seeds and oats will do. Or leave out a carrot.

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