If like us, you are trying to reduce your consumption of plastic this festive season, do not stress, there are plenty of gifts that will be a joy to receive and a gift to the planet as well as your loved ones.
Gift ideas to help friends and family to reduce their use of single-use plastic next year
• A reusable cup is a must for all coffee (and tea) drinkers.
In the UK we throw away 2.5 billion cups a year with less than 1% recycled, and it is estimated it takes over 30 years for each cup to decompose*. Most coffee shops these days are happy to make your drinks in your own cup and many offer a discount if you bring a cup. There are hundreds of designs available (including our own River Cottage ones).
• A refillable water bottle
It is estimated that the average adult uses 150 plastic water bottles a year*, help your loved ones stop this unnecessary waste with a refillable one.
• Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to clingfilm
Clingfilm can not be recycled so ends up in landfill. Beeswax wraps can be used in just the same way as you would use clingfilm but with the advantage they are reusable, they just need a quick wipe down. You can make your own or buy them if you would prefer.
• Bamboo toothbrushes
It is estimated that each toothbrush takes 1000 years to decompose and that the average person uses 300 in their lifetime, and a staggering 3.6 billion are used worldwide every year*.
• A tote bag or wicker basket
Give your loved one a tote bag or wicker basket so they don’t have to rely on plastic carrier bags for shopping. The options for tote bags are almost infinite, choose their favourite band, brand, destination or simply colour or perhaps a River Cottage one!
• Shampoo and conditioner bars
Globally around 552 million shampoo bottles* could be ending up in landfills every year. Giving a shampoo or conditioner bar would help reduce that number and there are lots of great options available.
• Potted herbs
Plastic film on supermarket produce can rarely be recycled. Instead of buying individually wrapped packets of fresh herbs give someone potted herbs in a pretty pot or terracotta planter so they have the pleasure of fresh herbs without the waste.
Give something homemade
Making something for your friends and family is a great way to show how much you care. Instructions for the ideas below can be found easily online.
Homemade candles in old jam jars or flower pots infused with their favourite smells.
Handmade soap – try Rebecca Sullivan’s Natural Home tutor’s recipe.
Beauty products. There are loads of simple recipes to make body creams and bath bombs on the internet and in books.
Upcycle – personalise or decorate crockery wtih ceramic paint from a craft shop.
A Christmas hamper full of your loved one's favourite food and drink (there are plenty of recipe ideas on our website).
Painted utensils – paint the handles of simple wooden utensils to colour coordinate with your friend’s kitchen.
Give someone an experience
At times, the spirit of Christmas can feel lost amidst a frenzy of consumerism. Giving someone an experience instead of material possessions can make a refreshing change as well as being kinder to the planet. And this year more than ever before, having something to look forward to will be very welcome after the restrictions of this year.
Or there are plenty of online events, gatherings and experiences that can be enjoyed right now, such as our River Cottage Online Cooking Diploma
And lookign ahead, how about Concert tickets to their favourite band, theatre tickets. Or perhaps a day trip to a zoo, garden or a historic house? Or perhaps even a cookery course or special dining experience!
And don’t forget the wrapping!
Make stylish parcels with brown paper and string. Or how about customising your paper with potato print stamps of holly, snowflakes or other festive shapes.And instead of plastic gift bows adorn your parcels with herbs, foliage or flowers.