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Day 2: Wrapping this Christmas sustainably

We don’t know about you, but CAFA has been looking forward to our team lunch and Christmas party for the past month! As we finally enter that time of year….where the average UK household spends 29% more than usual in the run-up to Christmas as per the Bank of England report, we also recognize that spending habits are not the only thing that changes. The amount wasted at home mirrors that closely with household waste increasing by around 30% during this period.


Approximately £4 billion is spent on unwanted gifts. That is over 60 million unwanted gifts, making it one of the most wasteful times of the year. It’s estimated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, that around 50,000 trees are cut down each year to make enough paper to wrap presents and c. 12 million tonnes of plastic enter our environment each year, equivalent to a bin lorry load every minute.


So, this festive season, we asked our Secret Santas to be ‘Sustainable Secret Santas’ instead and they delivered! We’ve jotted down some practical actions and ideas for you to incorporate into your gifting habits as well.


Gifting includes many aspects – purchasing the gift itself, wrapping it, and in some cases disposing of it mindfully as well to avoid them ending up in landfills. Here’s what you can do to help reduce waste:


-Homemade gifts: personalize your presents with some thoughtful, low-cost, and potentially reusable gifts. Take inspiration from our Director Kari Allen made who sewed these lovely napkins below!


-Eco-friendly gifts: Plenty of associations and membership bodies offer gifting a membership or patronage support to a charity or wildlife trust, helping to support vital environmental work such as conservation, planting, or supporting sinks. If you’d like to find out more about these options, you can contact CAFA for a list of organisations that work in this area.


-Purchasing products: If you want to buy products, consider buying preloved, secondhand, upcycled, or subscriptions. Also, look out for sustainable materials such as wood over plastic. It could also be It could be something like a reusable coffee cup, reusable makeup remover wipes, or a solid shampoo bar to help others make sustainable choices.


-Vendors: Our champion member, Charity Retail Association houses over 70% of the charity retail sector – ensuring that your money is put to good use both while surprising your loved ones and contributing to a better world.


-Wrapping: Recycle paper and use recyclable wrapping paper where possible. If it’s got foil or glitter on it then it can’t be recycled and could contain plastic. You could also use old newspaper for a vintage look, or opt for cloth wrapping.


-Disposal: If you receive a gift that is not something you would use, there are various things you could do rather than throwing it away. You could pass on the gift, donate it to charity, sell it or organise a sale for unwanted gifts.

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