Gifts flown in from all over the world and wrapped in non-recyclable wrapping paper, half of which are barely used, have huge environmental repercussions. In Britain alone, an estimated 108 million rolls of wrapping paper end up in landfill each year, alongside £42 million worth of unwanted gifts.
Although we all love the suspense of opening presents, is wrapping them really worth the waste it causes?
Probably not. However, if you can’t bear unwrapped presents there are definitely more sustainable alternatives, such as recyclable paper (and no plastic sticky tape) or gift bags, which can be reused for years.
When it comes to gifts themselves, sustainability becomes more complex. It almost goes without saying that it is important to choose presents that don’t include plastic. But there are other unsustainable products to look out for too. For example, many candles, beauty products and food items contain palm oil - which has resulted in mass deforestation through its production.
Buying products from big companies such as Amazon is also not particularly sustainable. As convenient as it is, these companies produce untold volumes of industrial waste, fly in products from sweatshops all over the world and their tax affairs are dubious to say the least.
Whilst shopping locally or from small businesses (or both!) seems like a chore and can be more expensive, it hugely reduces the environmental impact of Christmas and it stops funds going towards huge corporations with no moral compass.
It's even more important to support small sellers this year, as many have been left financially crippled by the pandemic. Now is also a very hard time to launch a business, and your support this Christmas will go a long way.
With that in mind, why not support some fellow Newcastle students and local businesses this Christmas?
Here are some suggestions:
Run by a Newcastle student from Wallsend, look no further for gorgeous handmade jewellery and bookmarks. These bespoke resin gifts are ideal for jewellery lovers and bookworms alike.
KT's Resin can be found on Instagram here:
Run by Newcastle students based in Jesmond, these quirky and recycled candles are the perfect stocking filler or gift for a drinks-loving friend.
This Blyth-based business makes high-quality handmade clothing, perfect for a fashionable friend or family member without contributing to fast fashion.
All of these businesses also make custom orders.
Feature Image: Pixabay @Alexas_Fotos