How To Have A Very Merry Green Christmas | Money


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

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

So how can you change your usual buying habits into more sustainable ones?

Use independent stores

One way is to stick with your local independent stores. Like Sian Conway-Wood, author of Buy better Consume less, says this keeps money in the local economy and leads to a more thoughtful approach to spending, instead of responding to the marketing of large retailers.

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

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

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

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

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

For clothing, Social Supermarket works with 100 different companies who are assessed on their social and environmental standards. Ethical Superstore aims to find alternatives to everyday fashion items and has a Supplier Code of Conduct.

With cell phones as a frequent gift, Fairphone is a sustainable alternative to big brands. Its latest model costs £ 499. The company aims to make phones from the most ethically sourced materials possible that you can take apart and repair with ease.

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

Ethical consumer the magazine assesses companies on their sustainable and environmental credentials. It is also worth looking for B Corp accreditation, which is granted 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 many new ways of shopping for second-hand clothes.

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

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

Charity Shelter for the Homeless has a network of 100 stores. Online, it offers high-end designer goods, including a pair of Stella McCartney platform shoes for £ 150.

Don’t store, buy less stuff

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

One way is to use “experiences”, whether they are tickets to events, outings or classes. Virgin is running ‘experience days’ such as making botanical extracts from a wildflower meadow (£ 50) to an urban beekeeping session in London (£ 84).

Instead of plastic, choose jars

In addition to gifts under the tree, many other traditions can also be carried out in a more sustainable way.

The Woodland Trust says the most eco-friendly Christmas tree is the one with roots, which can be planted in the garden and brought back for the 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 in a sustainable and ethical manner.

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

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

An expensive, but even more eco-friendly option is to purchase tissue paper with encrusted 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 soybeans linked to deforestation are used as livestock feed. The vast majority of soybeans are grown in Argentina and Brazil – where there are risks of deforestation due to its production – as well as in the United States.

Tim Martin, of the non-profit Farm Wilder, says consumers aiming for a sustainable Christmas would be better off choosing game taken from the wild in the UK. There is a need to slaughter deer right now, he said. At £ 20 for 1.5kg, it’s offered at a reasonable price.

The RSPCA has issued warnings against buying “reindeer food” to sprinkle in the back garden on Christmas Eve. Commercially-purchased packaging often contains plastic or glitter, which is bad for wildlife. Instead, making your own with seeds and oats will do the trick. Or leave out a carrot.

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