Christmas may be the time when most of us put on a few pounds around the middle and lose quite a few from our wallets.
While perhaps we may resign ourselves to the first, there is a way to make the second a little less painful – or less wasteful at least.
According to figures from Zero Waste Scotland, Scots are expected to send more than 95 million Christmas cards this year; that’s enough to fill over 13,000 wheelie bins.
Meanwhile around 19,000 miles of wrapping paper will be used across the country – enough to wrap the coast of mainland Scotland more than two and a half times.
And that’s not even including food waste, with more than 50,000 tonnes of food and drink expected to be binned in Scotland during the month of December alone.
Scots are being encouraged to make Christmas 2016 a waste-conscious one by taking into account simple considerations when doing their shopping – thinking about how they will use up excess food and considering whether the cards and wrapping they buy can be recycled or re-used.
When it comes to gifts, buying trends are edging towards waste-free alternatives. The popularity of gift experiences continues to grow, with practical presents such as upcycling, sewing classes and repair skills appealing as equally as adventure gifts and spa days to those keen for a more meaningful gesture. Meanwhile new leasing and borrowing options are emerging, with trendy presents such as leasing Lego and tool library memberships providing unique and useful gifts for a wide range of ages and interests.
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Giving Christmas presents is such an enjoyable thing to do, and no-one likes the idea of them going to waste. Scotland is really leading the way on growing the circular economy, so it’s fantastic to see gift options emerging that let people give more meaningful presents that are unique and better for the environment.”
For inspiration on finding waste-free or waste reducing gifts this Christmas, see our 10 tips below:
Visit second-hand shops to find unique gifts that are built to last. Check out our list of Revolve certified stores – Scotland’s national re-use quality standard for retailers.
Go for an experience – like gig tickets, a fancy meal out, a hot air balloon trip or spa day – rather than material things for an unforgettable gift.
Add a personal touch:
Tailor your wrapping paper by personality and give your gifts some flair. Wrap your fashionable friend’s gift using an old copy of Vogue, for example, or re-use old comics to wrap kids’ Christmas presents.
Make things last:
Cut down on paper waste by sending e-cards or buying cards made from recycled paper.
Give someone the gift that keeps on giving. Memberships or courses, such as sewing, upholstery or bike maintenance, give people the chance to develop a skill as well as indulging in a hobby or passion.
Pay it forward:
Received a gift you don’t need but don’t want to ask for the receipt? Return it for an exchange, re-gift it if someone else would love it, sell it online or feel great and donate it to charity.
Combine and conquer:
Have fun, save money and get a gift you actually want with a friends and family Secret Santa. Put names in a hat along with a hint of what you would like.
Make your own:
Get creative and give someone a one of a kind gift. Are you a keen cook? Cakes, jams and chutneys can make useful and thoughtful presents, and cut down on food waste.
Plan your meals before you go food shopping. Writing a list makes sure you don’t overbuy saves you money and prevents food waste.
Opt for solar power outdoor lights where possible and remember to turn your Christmas lights off when you’re out or in bed.
For more inspiration on unusual eco-friendly gifts, from a remanufactured Polaroid camera to leasing Lego, visit the Zero Waste Scotland website.