Top 30 eco-friendly gifts to give as Brits plan ‘most sustainable Christmas ever’


Half of adults plan on having their “most sustainable Christmas ever” by ditching cards, cutting back on decorations – and buying second-hand or refurbished gifts.

Research into 2,000 UK adults revealed 58 per cent will try to be sustainable this year, with 51 per cent intending to have their most eco-friendly holiday season yet.

Almost six in 10 (57 per cent) won’t send Christmas cards this year, while 88 per cent are determined to keep their food waste to an absolute minimum.

The study, commissioned by musicMagpie, also found 78 per cent won’t be travelling as much to visit friends and family in a bid to protect the planet, even if restrictions allow.

It also revealed how many plan on gifting sustainably this year, with seven in 10 buying things made from eco-friendly materials and nearly half pledging to buy second-hand or refurbished Christmas gifts.



You can recycle old Christmas cards

In fact, nearly three-quarters would consider spending more than their usual budget on a gift that is sustainable.

Liam Howley, from musicMagpie, said: “Despite the challenges of this year, it’s inspiring to see that many people are planning to have their most sustainable Christmas yet.

“The festive season is a wonderful time of year, but sadly it comes at a huge cost as we produce 30 per cent more waste, much of which will unfortunately end up in landfills and harm the environment.

“It’s inspiring to see that people are really thinking about how they can still enjoy Christmas, while making choices that are smarter for the planet.”



Use recyclable wrapping paper

The study also found that it’s not just about protecting the environment, with 49 per cent changing their festive ways to be more eco-friendly in a bid to save money.

And a third want their hard-earned cash to be spent on something more worthwhile.

A further 55 per cent of respondents also said they are making more sustainable choices this year as a result of the pandemic and lockdown.

But four in 10 are doing things differently to protect the future of the planet for their offspring, and a quarter simply want to feel a bit less guilty about Christmas.



Reuse old decorations

Two-thirds agreed Christmas can be one of the most damaging times of year for the planet, so it’s important for everyone to play their part.

Half of adults felt the festive period is damaging because of all the extra energy used for lights, decorations and cooking big meals, and 52 per cent blame it on people simply binning old things to make room for the new – instead of recycling them.

The study, conducted via OnePoll, also found it’s still important to seven in 10 that their gift-giving has a positive impact on the environment.

Nearly a quarter will be swapping the cheeseboard for a vegan substitute.



Christmas is coming with just around six weeks to go

And 39 per cent will ONLY buy things which will help the planet, such as donations to charity, buying Fairtrade and shopping second-hand.

Liam Howley added: “There’s so many ways you can make your holidays more environmentally-friendly now, and you shouldn’t have to feel the need to spend a fortune either.

“The small things really do add up to make a big difference – whether it’s cutting down how much meat you have or reducing your food waste, buying second-hand gifts or simply making room for new presents in a responsible way by selling unwanted items.

“This will also allow you to save and even make money in the process.”



Time to get out the decorations

Top 30 sustainable gifts UK adults want or are planning to give

1. Plants
2. Bars of soap
3. Second-hand books
4. Donation to a charity
5. Shampoo bars
6. Reusable water bottle
7. Sustainable beauty products
8. Reusable coffee cup
9. Ethical clothing
10. Bamboo/sustainable toothbrush
11. Sustainable make up
12. Second-hand clothing
13. Vegan chocolates/sweets
14. Reusable straws
15. Non-plastic jewellery such as wood or metal
16. Bamboo hairbrush
17. Second-hand DVDs
18. Reusable cotton pads
19. Reusable sandwich bags/beeswax wraps
20. Wooden toys
21. Bags or wallets made from recycled materials
22. Second-hand video games
23. Second-hand toys
24. Bamboo/hemp socks
25. Bamboo soap dish
26. Second-hand CDs
27. Biodegradable kitchen cleaning products such as bamboo dish brush, sponges etc.
28. Second-hand/refurbished smartphone
29. Second-hand/refurbished games consoles
30. Second-hand/refurbished tablet



You could cut down on wrapping paper

Top 30 ways adults plan on having a more sustainable Christmas

1. Keep food waste to a minimum
2. Recycle delivery boxes
3. Avoid plastic packaging
4. Buy less plastic gifts
5. Buy less plastic decorations
6. Use recyclable wrapping paper
7. Freeze all leftovers
8. Shop online to avoid travelling
9. Travel less over the festive period
10. Purchase gifts made from sustainable materials
11. Only buy cruelty free beauty products
12. Only buy cards where donations go to charity
13. Eat less meat
14. Use less Christmas lights
15. Buy sustainable gifts such as shampoo bars or bamboo toothbrushes
16. Go palm oil free
17. Not sending Christmas cards at all/sending less to save waste
18. Share transport
19. Shop second-hand for outfits, decorations etc.
20. Buy Fairtrade chocolate advent calendars
21. Go completely ‘present-free’ or give fewer presents
22. Give second-hand and/or refurbished gifts
23. Eat organic
24. Get an eco-friendly Christmas tree (one planted for each tree cut)
25. Get a real Christmas tree rather than a plastic
26. Send e-cards
27. Buy vegan bath products and toiletries
28. Buy edible Christmas decorations
29. Create a homemade advent calendar
30. Donating money to charity rather than giving presents





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Blueland and Reformation have created an eco-friendly home cleaning li


Reformation, the eco-friendly fashion label known for its flowy, patterned dresses has a new product in its lineup: Soap.

The Los Angeles brand has teamed up with cleaning startup Blueland to create a set of home cleaning products free of single-use plastic, which is available on both brands’ websites. The collection, which costs $50, includes dish powder, multi-surface spray, hand soap, and laundry tablets. Reformation’s designers created the minimalist bottles, and the brands collaborated to create a new fragrance for the line, called Pretty Earthy, with notes of fig tree.

[Multi-Surface Cleaner Photo: courtesy Reformation]

It’s an interesting collaboration for Reformation, which has historically partnered with other fashion brands, like New Balance and Patagonia. But in its efforts to reduce the fashion industry’s impact on the planet, Reformation is heavily focused on what happens to clothes after the customer buys them. Traditional laundry products tend to be both water and carbon intensive, and often involves lots of plastic. By contrast, this laundry system consists of a tin along with forty tablets which you throw into the load of laundry. Blueland ships refills packs for $14 that come in paper packaging, so there is no plastic used at any stage.

[Laundry Tin and Tablets Photo: courtesy Reformation]

Reformation has focused on helping customers understand how to care for their clothes more sustainably. It encourages customers to hand-wash and air-dry their clothes when possible, because this saves water and energy, and it offers a list of eco-friendly dry-cleaners on its website. It also sells a washing bag called Guppyfriend that captures microscopic fragments of plastic that are shed from synthetic garments during the washing process, that end up in waterways and are toxic to sea creatures.

[Foaming Hand Soap Photo: courtesy Reformation]

The other items in the kit, like the hand soap and the dish scrub, are a little less relevant to Reformation’s brand. But the fashion label appears to be trying to make sustainable living sexy, much like its body-hugging dresses.

Looking for more recommendations? Check out our other handpicked suggestions.

Fast Company may receive revenue for some links to products on our site.





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Eco-friendly activities that are good for your body and pandemic possible


But while carbs and screen time can bring a satisfying rush of endorphins, the ideal Covid pastime should offer more sustaining thrills. That means an activity that’s good for your body, mind and the planet.

For some, it’s a first-time foray into gardening, a low-impact physical activity that has been shown to reduce stress levels. Another option is the UK-led trend of “wild swimming,” seeking out the nearest open water for a mind-clearing dip. (Want to double down on the benefits? Try ice swimming.)
If you’d prefer to stay on dry land, explore your neighborhood by running. All you need is a pair of shoes: or not.

Whatever you choose, remember that even in the most trying moments, it’s worth taking the time to care for yourself. Your body — and the planet — will thank you.

Go ride a bike

The most sought-after vehicle of the Covid-19 pandemic has just two wheels: Bicycles flew off store shelves from the early days of the crisis.
Biking your way to better health: How to reboot your workout routine
“Bikes are like the new toilet paper,” Houston bicycle shop owner Eric Attayi told CNN in an earlier interview. It’s clear why bikes have been a popular choice. At a time when many are anxious about using public transit due to the virus, bikes offer affordable, Earth-friendly transport plus plenty of fresh air.
Riding a bike is also good for you. Cyclists have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death when compared with other commuters, found researchers at Glasgow University. (The benefits more than offset the risk of bike accidents.)

Play in the garden

Gardeners harvest more than prize tomatoes. Tending plants can also pay off in reductions of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a research paper in the Journal of Health Psychology.
The human needs driving the rise in gardening, and how to start one
Bringing down cortisol levels goes far beyond mood; it can affect your immune system, digestive tract, blood pressure and even the sugar in your bloodstream.
For older gardeners, the low-impact, steady movement can also be an enjoyable way to fulfill the 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And you don’t need a big yard to enjoy the benefits of gardening. Whether you’re volunteering in a local park, joining a community garden or using a tiny patio for a container garden, even city dwellers can join in.
Done right, gardening is a hobby that helps the planet, too. When they replace lawns, an urban household vegetable garden can reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Run your way to cardio health

Don’t skip a cardio routine because the gym is closed: Running gets your heart rate up without pricey equipment. (Some researchers contend that you don’t even need a pair of shoes.)
Get moving faster with cardio: How to reboot your workout routine
In fact, athletes looking for pandemic-safe, outdoor workouts have driven a running boom since the Covid-19 pandemic began. That’s good news for health. Even running a small amount reduces the risk of premature death, found an international team of researchers in a 2019 metanalytic study.

And trading the treadmill for an outdoor jog can have environmental benefits, as well. Most gyms use air conditioners and workout machines that suck energy and increase the carbon footprint of your workout. Stay outside, and the only energy you’ll use will come from your muscles.

Keep up the habit through the winter, and you’ll be rewarded with a calorie-burning bonus. Working out in the cold can strengthen your metabolism, zap calories and improve your mood.

Learn to cook

When restaurants closed to mitigate the pandemic, people across the globe turned to their own kitchens instead.
Have to cook from home for the first time? Here's what you need to know (plus your first recipe!)
That could be a silver lining for our health and finances. Eating home-cooked meals is linked to higher-quality diets and healthy body mass index, research has shown. Not only that, cooking at home can reduce the expense of eating well.
And if you choose ingredients with care, cooking at home can also make meals more planet-friendly.
Strategies to green your diet include reducing red-meat consumption, using unprocessed ingredients and buying some items locally. You get extra points for avoiding the plastic waste associated with take-out food from restaurants.

Try out wild swimming

Indoor pools are another pandemic casualty: You probably won’t catch Covid-19 through the water, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it can be hard to maintain proper social distance in changing rooms and pool facilities.
How wild swimming saved my life
That’s no reason to stay on dry land. Take up “wild swimming,” and you can join a trending movement of swimmers seeking out places to bathe in lakes, rivers and oceans. You’ll be saving yourself — and the planet — a big dose of chemicals, as well, because some chemicals used to disinfect swimming pools can be hazardous to human health.
And in addition to the well-documented benefits of swimming for exercise, the time spent outdoors will be good for your health. Outside time has been found to reduce stress, improve your mood and help you sleep better.
If you’re willing to brave chilly water, your health could get an additional boost. Some practitioners believe that swimming in cold or even icy water can help with chronic pain, depression and inflammation.

Row, row, row your boat

As warm weather arrived in spring 2020, small boats were a big deal. The paddlesports industry, which includes canoes, kayaks, rafts and stand-up paddleboards, saw a huge uptick in sales as people across the globe looked for ways to get outside.
Zach Schwitzky: The New Yorker who kayaks to work

Maybe that’s because boats can offer natural social distancing; while a running path or bike trail can put you close to others, there is more room to spread out on the water.

But paddling also offers a big health benefit. The twisting motion used to move a paddle through the water is great for boosting core strength. A stronger core can help banish slouching, improve balance and prevent lower-back pain or injury, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.

And whether it’s a scenic kayak trip or a session on a stand-up paddleboard, you’ll be propelled across the water by your strength alone. That makes the sport a greener alternative to boats that run on fossil fuels.

Take a “plalk” to clean up pandemic trash

After moving to West Sussex, England, writer David Sedaris started an unusual pair of hobbies: hours-long walks and picking up roadside litter. (The combo is actually gaining traction, with some calling the activity “plalking.” The jogging version is “plogging.”)
5 ways to supersize your walk

While picking up trash isn’t the most glamorous hobby, Sedaris had walked right into a potent combination of physical, psychological and environmental benefits.

Walking is excellent, low-impact exercise, and it’s easy to scale the distance and pace to suit any fitness level. Meanwhile, doing helpful things — such as leaving your local area a little bit cleaner — has been shown to boost happiness.
And there has never been a better time to take it up. The pandemic has created a surge of plastic waste, including disposable surgical masks and gloves. (The CDC still recommends that surgical masks be reserved for health care workers and first responders.)

If you’re going to help pick up pandemic trash, it’s important to stay safe: Wear a mask and gloves, and always put litter directly into a sturdy garbage bag.

Jen Rose Smith is a writer based in Vermont. Find her work at jenrosesmith.com, or follow her on Twitter @jenrosesmithvt.





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New eco-friendly material to halve cost of run-flat tires


OSAKA — Japanese fiber maker Omikenshi has developed a material used in run-flat tires that can be produced at roughly half the cost and with half the carbon emissions as the typical alternative.

The material, which the company aims to commercialize in fiscal 2021, will be used in the carcass layer, which is responsible for holding in high-pressure air and maintaining the structure of the tire.

Run-flat tires normally use high-tenacity rayon fibers in the carcass, since they need to withstand the heat generated when a vehicle runs on a punctured tire. Omikenshi, together with rubber maker Zeon, Shinshu University and other partners, developed a cellulose fiber alternative that is blended with high-strength carbon nanotubes.

The new fiber is said to cost about half as much as high-tenacity rayon since solvents can be reused. The process of unraveling the fiber is shortened substantially as well, meaning carbon emissions are reduced by more than 50% compared with high-tenacity rayon.

Omikenshi “will capture demand from tiremakers conscious of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals,” said senior executive Toshifumi Maeda.

Samples of the new material will be distributed to tire manufacturers as early as this winter.

Run-flat tires have received growing attention from manufacturers of electric and self-driving cars. Electric vehicles run on heavy batteries, meaning their other components have to be lighter. Run-flat tires would eliminate the need for electric vehicles to carry a spare tire. They would also allow autonomous vehicles to drive themselves to a mechanic, rather than wait for repairs at the site of the blowout.

Omikenshi sees the tire material as a key driver in its turnaround. The company forecasts a net loss of 2 billion yen ($18.9 million) for the 12 months through March 2021, the third straight year of red ink.

Omikenshi in May announced its withdrawal from rayon fiber production, a mainstay business that has faced tough competition from abroad. Its sales are projected to shrink to 2.8 billion yen in fiscal 2021, or less than a third of fiscal 2019’s performance, from dumping unprofitable operations.

The company is exploring ways to incorporate the new material into air and water filters, which also need a high resistance to heat. But competition in eco-friendly materials is fierce, and the company will need to ramp up research in the field and find new creative uses for its products.





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Beauty Queens Celebrate Eco-Friendly Ganesh Chaturthi 2020


Shreya Rao Kamavarapu, Femina Miss India 2018 – 2nd Runner-up

Shreya Rao Kamavarpu urged her fans to go Eco –friendly and immerse the idol at home and not pollute the sea. She shares the importance and benefits of going eco-friendly on her Instagram post.

Shreya wrote, “Having Ganpati festival around the corner, Plan A Plant is here with a thoughtful initiative “Plant Ganesh” with an environment friendly option..

1. Idol made of pure clay (7”) with (5”) recyclable plastic pot

2. Seeds Embedded in the product.

3. Only Vegetable seeds used in order to promote #Growurownfood

4. 10 Days germination period – grows into a beautiful plant.

5. Nimarjan at Home!”



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Airlie resort a lean, green eco-friendly machine


AN AIRLIE Beach resort is going to great lengths to protect the greenery it is nestled within and the team has just received a new feather in its cap for its eco-friendly efforts.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has just been recognised as an Ecotourism Australia certificated operator.

The accreditation means the resort is recognised as having exemplary operations in terms of ecological sustainability, natural area management and provision of authentic cultural experiences.

Owner-operator Greg McKinnon said it was one of the resort’s proudest achievements, with environmental protection and sustainability being one of the most important priorities for his team of almost 50 staff.

“As an operator based within the Great Barrier Reef region, we understand the importance of preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystems and natural resources, and to inform our guests of potential impacts and how they can make a difference,” he said.

 

More stories:

Whitsunday’s hidden trove key in climate change battle

New project strengthens preparation for future disasters

New website brings Whitsunday food to your fingertips

 

The resort’s environmental aims and objectives are based on the philosophy of reduce, reuse, recycle, and many activities are implemented throughout the resort that align with these environmental values.

The resort’s dedication to reducing emissions is demonstrated through initiatives such as the use of electric buggies, recycling programs, solar bin lifters, a range of battery powered machinery for grounds, motion sensors for lighting and a solar roof mounted system on the conference centre and maintenance shed roofs to generate power.

Set on 10.5 hectares, the resort has an onsite nursery that propagates almost every one of the thousands of plants used throughout the park with numerous flowering tropical trees and shrubs to attract native butterflies and birdlife.

The use of plant species such as bromeliads, succulents and native palms, require minimal irrigation and neem trees have been planted as a native deterrent for sandflies.

Residents include wallabies, bandicoots, ducks and green tree frogs and the resort is committed to educating guests on how to not interfere with wildlife.

 

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort owner operator Greg McKinnon and his team are stoked by the accolade.

Dogs or other pets are not permitted within the resort to ensure the resort’s native animals and bird life is not affected.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort also works with Whitsunday Training to deliver the Reef Discovery Program and offers Ocean Rafting’s Reef Seeker program, which offer modules for school groups, in both classroom and practical environments, allowing students to develop a greater appreciation of how important it is to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is the only 4.5 star eco-accredited resort holiday park in Airlie Beach.





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