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1 Dec

Sustainability this Christmas

With the festive season just around the corner, it’s likely your house is about to starting to fill up with gifts to give loved ones, as well as an abundance of festive wrapping paper, ribbons, gift tags and bags. And that’s not to mention the packaging all the gifts came in (shopping bags from your instore sprees, and cardboard boxes and plastic bags from those late night online orders.)

Now, the festivities aren’t the only ‘current’ thing on everyone’s mind as of late; our planet is as well. Climate change is currently having a significant and harmful effect on the planet. Our sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate, wildfires are becoming more and more common, as are heatwaves, storms and droughts.

And, now more than ever, we are trying to do something about it. Making small changes of swapping out single-use plastic for reusable versions, trying to use public transport or walking instead of using the car and cutting down on the amount of meat and dairy we consume are just some of the things we the public, as a collective are trying to do in order to try and save our planet.

Because after all, there isn’t a replacement.

So, trying to be more sustainable in your gifting process this Christmas is just one more thing we can do in order to produce less waste. Recycling in the UK is already saving around 10-15 million tonnes of the equivalent in CO2 each year, which is equivalent to taking 3.5 million cars off the road. And thinking ‘green’ this year will only add to these numbers.

Therefore this isn’t a plug to say we should give up the idea of Christmas and gift giving altogether, but to think of a more conscious way of going about it. It is estimated that each year we dispose of around 108 million rolls of wrapping paper during the festive season, and even that of which we do try to recycle a majority of it isn’t actually recyclable. Festive wrapping that contains plastic, dye, foil, glitter or leftover tape can’t be recycled in anyway – not a fact we want to be learning in 2019.

But, as it’s too late to change the past, we can always aim to improve going forward. So what are the alternatives?

Brown paper is the obvious if not generic choice to transfer to when wrapping your gifts this year. It may be a ‘boring’ selection but as it is a recyclable material, it heads to the top of the list. However, if you’re still after something a little bit extra this year, sourcing recycled and recyclable wrap is the next stop on the ‘saving the planet one step at a time’ checklist. Not On The High Street stock Sophia Victoria Joy – an eco-friendly and screen printed right here in Britain brand of 100% recycled paper.

And once you’ve sourced your recycled wrap, your choice of ribbons are next to check off. Ditch the plastic ribbon that will inevitably end up in the landfill in the new year and head to ‘eco-craft’ for the locally manufactured twool (jute, cotton and wool twine) to add your touch to those gifts this year.

It may not seem as though swapping out wrapping paper and ribbon is going to help our planet in anyway, after all we’re all only one person and what can we do? Well, if you think about it – if you stop getting wrapped up (sorry) in the excitement of the festive season and take a step back to think about the planet, and encourage one other person to do so and they encourage another person and the train leaves the station, then this small change can affect climate change in a big way.

It may have taken us longer than it should have to realise the damage we are causing to our planet, and it may be taking activists such as Greta Thunberg and even the nations favourite man David Attenborough to open our eyes to the issue, but it doesn’t mean we are too late to do what we can in order to save it.

Making small changes everyday as I said, such as using reusable plastic bags and coffee cups, opting to ride the bus to work or even car share with colleagues and thinking more about how we’re going to wrap our gifts this Christmas are all steps in the right direction.

Go green (like The Grinch colour green) and be conscious this Christmas.

Sophie Cain

I am a 24-year-old journalism graduate from the University of Huddersfield, currently completing a business administration apprenticeship within the NHS. I currently write a monthly fashion article for a local lifestyle magazine, Excelle and have done for the last three years. I also currently manage the social media accounts for Ragdoll Nails and love to keep up with friends, brands and celebrities through social media. In my free time I do a lot of shopping, but I also love to read - true crime mainly - and have a slight obsession with gin and tonics.

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