2020 More Thought, Less Waste Gift Guide (3)


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.


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: metalBPA-free plasticfoldable … 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 strawsveggie 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.

Where to shop: How to avoid Christmas Buying Panic by supporting local or independent retailers offline and on.

Wrapping it all up: Suggestions for how to cut back on wrapping paper waste (and don’t forget the scrunch test!).

Be a PALL: Help friends and family plastic a lot less.

For who they are … or want to be: Personality-based gifts for adults and children.

Around the house: Practical gifts that never go out of style.

Bits and bobs: A final collection of everything that doesn’t fit into one of these other categories.

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