Christmas is a time of giving. But so many of us get stressed out at the expense and hard work of buying Christmas gifts for friends and family – and some gifts, while well-meaning, can be unwanted by the recipient and may end up in the bin.
As well as the financial expense, the environmental cost of Christmas is huge too. Compared with the rest of the year, an extra 30 per cent of rubbish is discarded during the festive period – that's around an extra 3,000,000 tonnes.
So what can be done to stop the waste – without stopping the fun of giving and receiving gifts?
Sustainable gift giving takes into account the four Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle – and applying these principles when choosing and wrapping presents can significantly reduce impact on the environment.
The packaging that gifts are presented in is often the problem, rather than the gift itself, so look out for things that come in cartons or boxes that can be recycled or are biodegradable. Here are some more ideas for eco-friendly gifts.
Give a memory
One way to reduce waste is to avoid a physical present altogether and opt instead for an experience.
Ideas include restaurant vouchers for a meal or afternoon tea, theatre or cinema tickets, tickets for a family day out, or a place on a course or workshop. These gifts can also create memories that live on long after Boxing Day.