"This is backed up by survey carried out by Poundland, which revealed that only a third of shoppers had planned to buy presents early this year, with two-thirds still looking to carry on as normal. "
Even during times of restrictions, the magic of buying and wrapping Christmas presents hasn’t subsided. Thanks to the beauty of online shopping and the timely re-opening of the high-street – where retailers can extend their opening hours to 24 hours a day – Santa Clauses across the country won’t be short of work on Christmas Eve.
This is backed up by survey carried out by Poundland, which revealed that only a third of shoppers had planned to buy presents early this year, with two-thirds still looking to carry on as normal. Even 11% said they’d wait until the last minute to buy presents.
But keeping things under wraps until Christmas morning can come at a cost to the environment. Statistics suggest that British people use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year – 84 square kilometres of which ends up in the bin.
Today we look at how consumers and businesses can be more sustainable over Christmas, but not just this year, in the future too.
Tips for consumers
Shiny wrapping paper may be pleasing on the eye[ZP1] , but its contribution to the global waste problem is significant. The good news is though, there’re plenty of alternatives to traditional wrapping paper that still have eye-catching appeal.
One of these alternatives is a tradition in Japan. Furoshiki is square piece of cloth of fabric used for gift wrapping. The material usually has an elegant, decorative design and its benefits from an environmental perspective are that it can be used time and time again.
And the tradition from South East Asia is making its way to Britain. Craft website Etsy has seen a 41% year-on-year rise in searches for fabric gift wrap.
If keeping your own traditions alive for wrapping presents includes paper, then switching to brown recyclable paper is an ideal way to wrap presents and keep a classy look and feel.
Primark – who have some stores open 24 hours a day during the festive season – has even made their shopping bags suitable to use as wrapping paper. The bag can then be recycled once you’ve used it.
You can now also buy zero plastic Sellotape which is both compostable and biodegradable. If you’ve already wrapped your presents for this year, there’s no time like the present to start making a list for 2021’s birthday and Christmas wrapping!
Tips for businesses
In the run-up to Christmas this year, Google Trends data shows that searches for ‘recyclable Christmas wrapping paper’ were up 350% during November. During December, searches for ‘ethical Christmas crackers’ were also up by 400%.
This offers insight into the fact people are becoming more environmentally conscious when it comes to wrapping presents and keeping up traditions like crackers. A Which? survey also revealed that 45% of people did something last year to reduce the environmental impact of their festive celebrations.
For retail businesses, this is an opportunity to create a steady supply to meet rising demand. Here are a few ideas for what retailers can offer to consumers:
- Recyclable wrapping paper
- Reusable chalkboard gift tags
- Fill your own recyclable Christmas crackers
- Plastic-free Christmas crackers
For couriers, one way to be more sustainable is by improving the way in which gifts are delivered to doorsteps. To reduce transport miles and carbon emissions, the use of a plastic pallet is a great way to limit the number of journeys required between warehouse and doorstep. These pallets increase vehicle fill by 42% compared to a roll cage.
A sustainable Christmas future
The conversation around sustainability is one that won’t disappear in the blink of an eye — unlike Christmas chocolates and other sweet treats! The pandemic has made people think more about how to live greener, and with the festive season one of the busiest times of the year, it’s likely that more and more people will look to be environmentally friendly as each one approaches.
For businesses, it’s the chance to change their offering to support consumer appetite and improve efficiencies of their supply chain – not just for Christmas this year, but future ones too.