Christmas is coming, as is the panicked rush to buy in everything we need; be it presents, food, lights, wrapping paper or trees. This year, with COVID-19 added to the mix, things are slightly different, the look and feel of the high street has changed and so too have our shopping habits. Derek Walter, Sustainability Manager, explains how we can buy sustainably and support small independent businesses.

“This year is certainly the most important time in recent history to buy local, if you can, to help support small independent businesses. Without our support, many of these businesses will not survive the year and we’ll certainly miss them when they are gone. Here are some tips to help you make the switch to a local, more sustainable Christmas: 

Recyclable gift wrapping

“Much wrapping paper and trims are not recyclable so go straight in the bin, ultimately for landfill or energy recovery. Instead, why not get that Charles Dickens feel about Christmas and go for the Victorian look. Try using plain brown parcel paper, which is much cheaper too, wrapped with biodegradable garden twine. If you’re feeling fancy then why not garnish with a sprig of seasonal greenery like holly or pine. All recyclable or compostable, this could go some way to helping us have a waste free Christmas.  

Buy Social

“You could also Buy Social; it couldn’t be easier to give #PresentsWithPurpose and really make a difference to people’s lives this Christmas, simply by buying your gifts from a social enterprise.

“Whether that’s coffee providing jobs for people experiencing homelessness, clothing made by migrant women struggling to find work, handmade chocolates creating employment for people with autism or luxury skincare supporting people with disabilities. If you’re interested then why not have a look at this year’s Buy Social Gift Guide for inspirational presents that both reward your recipient as well as a good cause at the same time.  Alternatively there is always the Social Supermarket to try out too, with all manner of sustainable products.

Plan meals to reduce food waste

“Food waste is also a massive seasonal issue, try planning your meals each day over the festive period to avoid overbuying food that will quickly spoil and go off. And for those inevitable left overs, why not plug some of the items you need to use up in an Ingredient Recipe Calculator to get inspiration of what other lovely meals you could make. Failing that, turkey curry is always a winner!”