It’s almost Christmas, and with that comes a surge of indulgence, consumerism and lots and lots of waste and packaging. But it doesn’t need to be that way if you approach gift-giving and the Christmas routine with a little mindfulness and creativity.
Every Christmas there are a couple of go-to’s that inevitably end up in stockings and under the tree: soaps, smellies, cosmetics, we could go on… you get the gist. But there are some super easy swaps that will make gift-giving a little more green, and your conscience a little clearer.
We’re here to simplify the process of gift-giving and share some #LittleGreenSteps to swap out the things we take for granted, for greener, low-waste alternatives instead. Sustainability isn’t about sacrificing comfort, functionality or design – really, it’s just about making better purchasing decisions and creating less waste. Here’s our guide to low-waste and eco-friendly presents you can get for your loved ones this year, making it every bit as easy (and sexy!) as it really ought to be.
Unsustainable Culprit: PAPER
#LittleGreenSwap: Recycled stone paper
Did you know that paper mills contribute significantly to air, water and land pollution? Paper is such a huge part of our daily lives that it’s not hard to see how every page quickly adds up. But you don’t have to give it up altogether – you can switch to stone paper, instead. It looks like paper, feels like paper, but it’s also waterproof and tear-resistant. Karst Stone Paper repurposes waste stone produced by the mining and construction industries. After crushing it into a powder, it’s combined with a non-toxic, recyclable binding agent to make stone paper. Not one drop of water and nor a single tree is harmed in the making of these notebooks.
Unsustainable Culprit: DEODORANT
#LittleGreenSwap: Low-waste, toxin-free deodorant
It’s no secret that conventional deodorants tend to come in hard to recycle plastic containers and are filled with harmful chemicals. ZeroYet100 deodorants are devoid of any synthetic toxic chemicals and their hazardous side effects. They are infused with the goodness of essential oils of palmarosa and patchouli in a unique nourishing base of magnesium, activated charcoal, probiotics, and cold-pressed coconut oil. All the goodies you will ever need for a great deodorising experience.
Unsustainable Culprit: SOAP
#LittleGreenSwap: Zero-waste and all-natural soap
Swap out those drugstore soaps that are bad for the environment, bad for your skin, and bad for your drains. Soaper Delights offers handcrafted soaps, balms and deodorants that are formulated using vegetable oils, butter, clays, herbal infusions and natural essential oils. The brand enjoys creating skin-loving soaps and take great delight in offering them to customers at affordable prices. It sells only products that it truly believes in and the team personally test each and every product; additionally, it uses minimal or fully recyclable, plastic-free packaging, and they always look good enough to eat.
Unsustainable Culprit: SHAMPOO
#LittleGreenSwap: Shampoo bars
Umai is an awesome start-up on a mission to make the cosmetics world a little more sustainable, and it’s starting with shampoo. Instead of sitting around waiting for change, the Umai team decided to take it upon themselves to create solutions to age-old problems. And its first creation is a completely zero-waste solid shampoo that will make your hair look all swishy and fabulous. Created using natural formulas and organic ingredients, it’s completely vegan, cruelty-free and not tested on animals. Solid shampoo bars make a great swap for yourself or to slowly introduce your family to more eco-friendly practices in place of conventional shampoo that comes in plastic and is full of chemicals.
Unsustainable Culprit: FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS
#LittleGreenSwap: Sustainable alternatives
The average woman will use 12,000 to 16,000 disposable pads, pantyliners, and tampons in her lifetime. That’s a lot of plastic waste polluting and taking up space in our landfills. Enter TSUNO: a social enterprise that sells disposable, sustainable bamboo fibre sanitary pads and organic cotton tampons. They are individually wrapped in biodegradable sleeves and packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes, making them a much more planet-friendly alternative. And we love that 50% of its profits are donated to charities focusing on empowering women. Hell yes.
Unsustainable Culprit: SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STRAWS
#LittleGreenSwap: Reusable glass, metal or bamboo straws
Bamboo Straw Girl aims to promote a more sustainable way of living, which instinctively factors in people and the planet. Replacing plastic straws is a small but very visible way of actively demonstrating commitment towards this state of mind and sparks a wider discussion about how we use and manage resources responsibly in our world. It’s literally the easiest way to stop sucking at being a kinder human being to the planet, and also one of the easiest ways that the average person can incorporate sustainability into their everyday life. We strongly recommend tossing a couple of straws in everyone’s stocking this year.
Unsustainable Culprit: PLASTICS IN FABRIC
#LittleGreenSwap: Bamboo fibre bedsheets, towels and linen
Bamboa designs and markets high quality, stylish and practical bamboo home and lifestyle products, ranging from bamboo bed sheets to towels, t-shirts, homewares, accessories and many more. Its goal is to provide beautiful eco-friendly products while supporting rural bamboo communities where they are made and at the same time encouraging the use of this wonder plant. Bamboo is fast-growing, eco-friendly, insulating, antibacterial and even improves soil and air quality. Whether you’re looking to gift someone linen or swap out your own for when people come to visit over the holidays, opt for something a little softer this year (buttery soft, in fact) and go for bamboo.
Unsustainable Culprit: FACE WASH
#LittleGreenSwap: Packaging-free, natural, organic and plant-based face soap
What can you put on your skin that is nourishing instead of sterilising nowadays? Black Paint is not just another organic beauty brand; it only uses high-quality, natural and organic plant-based ingredients. These ingredients protect our microbiomes, which supports the body’s natural healing process from the inside out so that you can achieve naturally beautiful skin.
Unsustainable Culprit: PLASTIC
#LittleGreenSwap: Silicone bags
We don’t need to tell you that plastic is bad. While in some cases a necessary evil, there is far too much of it that’s being used unnecessarily and that’s especially the case with single-use plastic in the home. Especially, in the kitchen where ziplock bags fill many a cupboard and drawer. Silicone bags is the swap that everybody can make. Not only do they look good, wash thoroughly and seal perfectly, but they are microwaveable, sous vide ready, oven strong, and freezer friendly. We love Stasher bags because they are endlessly useful, reusable, and the non-toxic silicone bags come in tons of shapes, sizes, and colours. They are also a smart alternative to travel bags, heat/ice packs, hot flat iron container, and toy organiser.
Shop them here.
Unsustainable Culprit: COSMETICS
#LittleGreenSwap: Coconut based lipstick and blush
Cosmetics are filled with all sorts of harmful ingredients not just to your skin, but also the planet. Solve both problems by going natural with Coconut Matter; it’s a lovely brand that produces several all-natural and coconut-based products. Our favourite has got to be its lipsticks and lipglosses that come in a variety of tints for every complexion that doubles as a blush or highlighter. Just a quick swipe on your lips and cheeks and you’ve got yourself some last-minute depth and angles to your (already) pretty face. Best of all, they come packed with natural emollients that hydrate and soothe while they’re at it.
Shop them here.
But don’t just stop with low-waste presents, check our guide to sustainable stocking stuffers, how you can have a zero-waste Christmas, and also a few sustainable corporate gifts that will surprise and delight!