FOR THOSE AIMING TO PALL (PLASTIC A LOT LESS)
I see nothing wrong with using Christmas (or birthdays, anniversaries, or any gift-giving occasion) to promote a more sustainable lifestyle to family and friends. If you want to help your friends and family start down the path to less waste, then these gifts say “I’ve thought about you AND the planet.”
Blue Planet II highlighted the problem with plastics in the ocean, and the BBC documentaries Drowning in Plastic and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani’s War on Plastic has driven the point home even further. If you know someone who has expressed interest in reducing their own “wasteline”, there are a number of books now available to help them get started.
- Martin Dorey’s Plastic. What You Can Do to Make a Difference is good for those who are just starting to consider how to reduce plastic consumption, and his #2minutesolutions make it easy for anyone to participate. For children, Martin has recently published Kids Fight Plastic, which would make an excellent stocking stuffer for your favourite young person.
- For more plastic reducing tips, there is also How to Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum, Quitting Plastic by Clara Williams Roldan and Louise Williams, and Beth Terry’s Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.
- Looking beyond plastic, Jen Gale of the Sustainable(ish) Blog has written The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide: Everything you need to know to make small changes that make a big difference.
- For those who have already started down the path of waste reduction, there are a number of books that share the steps the author took to go zero waste, such as Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home or Erin Rhoads’ Waste Not Everyday.
- Tara Button’s A Life Less Throwaway is a fantastic behind-the-scenes view of how we got to the point we are today where so many products are disposable … and how we can take the necessary steps to ensure we don’t add to the problem.
With 2.5 billion coffee cups disposed of every year in the UK, anything that can make a dent in this number is a big help. If your recipient doesn’t already have a favourite reusable cup, there are many to choose from, from those that are personalised to something more unusual through Redbubble (useful if your friend or family member is a fan of pop culture).
Looking for a bit extra? Fairtrade tea or coffee is a nice stocking filler, or a voucher to a friend or family member’s favourite café is a great way to reduce waste while letting them get exactly what they want. I’m fond of Team Tea’s taster tins, and if you really want to splurge on the caffeine, subscription boxes are available too.
There are so many stylish reusable water bottles out there now that you are spoiled for choice: metal, BPA-free plastic, foldable … Chilly’s tends to get excellent reviews, and I love my Refill Chippenham water bottle from Jerry. Regardless of the type you get, helping to avoid single-use plastics is a gift that benefits everyone.
Cousin Norman’s in Chippenham launched a refill soap shop this year (2020 was certainly the year to do it!), and refill shops are popping up across the country. Why not help your pal start PALLing by providing containers that are easy to refill? For thick liquids like shampoo, conditioner, and washing up liquid, a pump bottle is a good bet. For other cleaning products, spray bottles are useful, and, for everything else, there’s bound to be a container that will do the job.
If you have a friend or family member who enjoys baking, cooking, or eating, there are a number of ways to cut down on plastic waste in the kitchen: reusable cutlery or straws, veggie bags, and beeswax wraps are just a few of the options available. Have a virtual peek in my own kitchen to see what’s available.
If you know a smoker, this could be a great stocking gift. Cigarette filters are made from plastic and can take up to 10 years to degrade, leaching chemicals the entire time. Butts should be disposed of properly, not left on the ground, and these ashtrays can help.
Any eco-friendly favourites left off the list? Let me know.