6 ways to gift more sustainably this festive season

1. Support local businesses

Have you ever stopped to wonder how many people might have been involved getting a product from overseas all the way to a supermarket shelf? Or how many kilometres it had to travel to get there? The less travel involved in manufacturing a product means the less carbon emissions it took to get there too. Where possible, support Australian made and manufactured products to help minimise emissions. 

Bonus: Sourcing products from local makers, growers and manufacturers also makes for some very happy Aussie’s and boost’s the small business economy. 

2. Purchase gifts you know they’ll love

Nothing says sustainable more than a gift you know they won’t want to throw away. By buying a gift you know they’ll love and cherish, it automatically becomes a more sustainable purchase. You’ll also get props for getting the perfect gift over some tacky store bought one.

3. Shop products with eco friendly ingredients/ materials 

When shopping online or in store look at the ingredients list/ materials products were manufactured with. Avoid harmful chemicals or pesticides by opting for the eco option such as ‘organic’ products.

If purchasing clothing or fabric based products avoid polyester, viscose rayon and leather as these are often created using a toxic manufacturing process. Instead, opt for products made from silk, hemp, linen or wool as they are all low- impact textiles. If you're unsure of a brand's ethos, you can check the Good On You app for a full list of ethical and sustainable fashion brands. 

4. Investigate a brand’s delivery and packaging 

With buying online becoming more and more popular due to convenience, it’s no doubt that delivery and packaging has had an increased impact on the environment. If you’re shopping online from a sustainable or eco - conscious brand they’re likely to be transparent about their delivery methods. You can research other brands' delivery and packaging methods online or email them if you’re unsure. 

5. Opt for sustainable gift wrapping 

Each year Australian’s use more than 150,000kms of wrapping paper during the festive season, enough to wrap around the Earth’s equator nearly 4 times. Wrapping paper is torn off in about 60 seconds with most of it ending up in landfill. 

There are so many sustainable wrapping alternatives by wrapping your gift in modern furoshiki style (using fabrics such as a tea towel, cute scarf or off cut of fabric). 

6. If in doubt, gift an experience over an item

When you’re unsure what gift to purchase someone, gifting an activity/ experience will mean you get to create memories rather than fill someone’s life with potentially unwanted ‘stuff’. Gift Vouchers are also a great alternative when you’re unsure what to get your special someone. Treat them to a day at a day spa or a massage for when then need to relax and unwind. 

And a quick reminder, don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Sometimes you try your best and things don’t always go to plan. I’ve lost count of the number of times I thought I was shopping sustainably only to have a plastic wrapped gift show up on my door. A small step towards sustainability is a step in the right direction. Happy gifting! 

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