Thank you to my guest blogger, OVO Energy for this great, post Black Friday blog.
Black Friday – now one of the busiest shopping days in the UK – is responsible for generating huge carbon emissions, thanks to billions of emails sent and thousands of deliveries being made up and down the country, causing a negative impact on the environment. Online sales from Black Friday in 2020 is predicted to generate 429,000 tonnes of carbon with this figure rising year on year – the equivalent of 435 return flights between London and New York*.
At OVO Energy we believe that together we can help combat the climate crisis by making small, everyday changes at home to reduce carbon and our impact on the environment. To support this effort, this Black Friday we set out to encourage more people to connect with nature and the environment, offering new members a £50 gift card to spend at National Trust.
After Black Friday, quickly comes Christmas….and you might be wondering if there’s an environmentally-friendly way to get your retail therapy fix, but with a smaller carbon footprint. Here are our top tips and tricks on finding the perfect gifts, which are kinder to the planet, this festive season:
- Buy pre-loved – ‘Pre-loved’ doesn’t necessarily mean old and worn; giving vintage, unique presents can be even more meaningful than picking up a new item. Perhaps your loved-one has a retro sense of style, with an eye for shirts from the 1950s. Or, if they’re a bookworm, they might cherish a vintage edition from their favourite author. Charity shops on your local high street can be treasure troves for eco-friendly gifts – but if you can’t get out of the house this winter, you could also try eBay, Depop, Vinted, and Oxfam’s online emporium.
- Get something sustainably made – If you can’t find the perfect gift second-hand, try finding a gift that’s plastic-free and sustainably made. For clothing, look for items made from naturally-derived fibres like linen, hemp, and Tencel. Outdoor adventurers will love gifts from Patagonia, the activewear brand that uses renewable energy and recycled fabrics to create their clothes. Homely rugs from the National Trust are also made from the recycled end cuts of yarn. Bamboo – in its raw, unprocessed form – is also great in things like homewares. And if you’re looking for toys, there are tons of wooden options, to avoid all that carbon-guzzling plastic.
- Don’t rush – These days, you can make a purchase on your smartphone in seconds. While it’s convenient, our online shopping habits are fuelling a culture of buying objects only to return them. The sad fact is that 20% of items bought online and then returned end up languishing in landfill, because they can’t be resold. Avoid adding to this problem by only making purchases you’re pretty sure about. Don’t be hurried – if you want to be sustainable, it’s important to make the best and most informed choice, not the quickest.
- Get crafty – If you want to opt out of shopping altogether, and save yourself some cash in the process, there’s nothing better than making a gift yourself. Perhaps you’re a talented baker, and you could whip up a tray of brownies – or maybe you could write your loved-one a meaningful letter that they’ll cherish forever. You could try your hand at making beeswax candles, scented soap, a terrarium, or a chunky knitted blanket.
- Gift the gift of zero waste lifestyle – Help remind any less eco-friendly relatives of their own everyday environmental impact by giving them useful, reusable items. A stylish water bottle, a tote bag, or a bamboo cutlery and toothbrush set could encourage them to break their habits and go plastic-free. Beauty lovers might appreciate the gift of reusable make-up wipes or homemade face masks. The Zero Waste Cookbook is a great gift for any cooks in your life, being full of tips on how to make your food go further.
Thanks again to Ovo Energy for some great ideas!