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The Green Gift Guide

Blog by Jenna

Sustainable Merton Community Champion

Whether it's seasons greetings, birthday wishes or an anniversary that has you reaching for the wrapping paper, it’s time to get mindful about gift-giving.

Of course, it’s what’s inside that counts. Did you know that by March each year, 41% of toys purchased for the holidays will be broken or out of favour with our children?** Get creative and reduce the amount of “stuff” winging its way to landfill. Here are some of our top tips!

💚 Less is more.

Follow the rule of four this year, to save cash and reduce waste: 1) something you want, 2) something you need, 3) something to wear, and 4) something to read. It may even be possible to tick multiple boxes with a single gift.

💚 Think outside the box.

Get creative with crafting, experience gifts, charity donations, baking, gift cards, memberships (e.g., to gardens, museums), re-gifting, or visiting one of our many local charity shops. As well as reducing waste, you could be saving some pennies and donating to a good cause too.

💚 Support local and eco-friendly.

Keep an eye out for places where you can buy beautiful gifts made from upcycled materials, such as the Luxecycled virtual marketplace (founded by one of Sustainable Merton’s Community Champions!), or make use of the ‘handmade’ and ‘shop location’ filters on There are also many options for locally made, eco-friendly products such as ethicalshop and Bamboo Beauty, another fantastic shop founded by a Community Champion that sells eco-friendly beauty projects.

💚 Secret Santa.

This fun scheme allows you to set a budget and/or theme, and to ensure that each person in a group receives one thoughtful gift, rather than a barrage of novelty items. Online generators such as Elfster or Draw Names can help to randomly assign gifters and giftees, as well as providing the option to add a wishlist.

⬆️ LEVEL UP ⬆️

For more greener gift giving tips, read our blogs on:

Creative wrapping

According to Biffa, each Christmas the UK disposes of over 277,000 miles of wrapping paper - enough to stretch to the moon - and sends over 100 million bags of rubbish to landfill! The majority of wrapping paper produced is not recyclable, so how can we reduce this waste without compromising on style?

  • Wrap gifts in scarves or fabric off-cuts for a truly individual look (and the scarf is a bonus present too!)

  • Ribbons to seal the package (longer ribbons can easily be reused)

  • Gift boxes or bags for larger items, which can easily be kept, regifted or repurposed

  • A stocking at Christmas (easily personalised and traditional)

If you can’t bear to give up wrapping paper, look out for the recyclable symbol. If in doubt, try the scrunch test, which involves crumpling the wrapping paper into a ball to find out whether it bounces back open. Paper that retains a balled shape is most likely to be recyclable.



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