Shopping for gifts doesn’t always sit comfortably with a concern for sustainability and the environment, but with a little thought you can make more sustainable gifting choices without having to spend loads of cash, or disappointing the recipient!
The current mainstream economic model is sometimes known as a ‘linear economy’. We take resources from the natural environment, make something we want, use it – often for a very short period of time – and then dispose of it.
Here’s some tips for sustainable gifting:
Choosing resource-light gifts
One way of making more sustainable choices is choosing resource-light gifts – for example by gifting experiences, skills or your time. Consumables like food and drink also make great gifts that don’t have to contribute towards increased waste.
Contribute to the circular economy
You can make choices that contribute towards a circular economy – one where we reduce or eliminate the volume of raw materials that we take from the environment and that we dispose of. This could be by buying second hand, repurposing or upcycling for example.
This benefits the climate by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with resource extraction, production, transport and disposal. It also reduces waste, with benefits for the environment and biodiversity.
You can also make more sustainable choices in where you buy gifts from – if you purchase from charity shops or small businesses, you are supporting society and the local economy, rather than increasing shareholder profits.
Support local and small businesses
Purchasing locally means we’re lowering emissions by saving on transport miles, whilst also supporting local businesses. It also means you can buy more unique gifts that the recipient is sure to love! These gifts also don’t need to cost the planet to save the planet! Check out our 12 gifts from Leeds for our favorite local gifts at a range of prices.
Whatever you give or receive this holiday season remember that the festive period offers an opportunity to unwind after another challenging year, and to spend time focusing on the people you hold dear. The memories you make are more likely to stay with you forever, whereas the items you’ll receive may not last you such a long time.
Be mindful of your purchases
Around different holidays and celebrations, we are bombarded with ads and messages to buy more and more. It is almost as if getting more items is meant to make us, and our loved ones happier. Don’t be tempted to buy unnecessary gifts ‘just because’. If you have a lot of people to buy for, you could even agree to a ‘secret santa’ where you each buy one really thoughtful gift for a person in the group rather than lots of smaller gifts that they might not need.
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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on being active in Leeds is linked to the following SDGs:
- Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.