It's that time of year again when we spend more than ever, especially online. Last Christmas the UK spent over £24 billion on Christmas shopping with over 45% of that originating from online sales. Online sales means deliveries and deliveries means parcels and parcels means packaging... lots of it!
A recent ITV News investigation revealed some frightening trends by large online retailers in their use of excess packaging. It's not just the online giants like Amazon who are guilty either, but high street names as well. House of Fraser, for example, sent one roll of wrapping paper in a large box. The roll itself was wrapped in nearly eight metres of padding and two different types of bubble wrap. Debenhams and John Lewis were equally guilty. You can read the full article here.
So what can we do as consumers to combat this?
1. Get Heard
We are great believers in social consumerism. If we want things to change we have to persuade the retailers. The best way we can do this is to shop with our wallets. Choose retailers who have strong environmental policies and when you do receive a package with excessive packaging, complain. Complain directly to the retailer and post about the complaint and their response on social media. Also, try to buy from smaller retailers who tend to be a lot more conscious about the cost of unnecessary packaging.
2. Get Serious
Do you really need to buy that? Is it something you really need? Do you have to buy it online or could you buy it locally? It's all too easy to get swept away in the Christmas retail buzz and end up buying extra presents and goodies, even when we are not sure if the person we're buying it for will like it. Better to buy one or two really good presents than a dozen crap things that will live in a cupboard for 12 months before ending up in the charity shop or landfill.
3. Get Organised
Try to avoid buying sporadic gifts over a long period leading up to Christmas from many different retailers. Decide what you are going to buy, group your purchases and order them together. Sometimes you may a little more per item, but you will likely save on postage overall and it will mean a lot less packaging is used.
4. Get Reusing
Well you have already done what you can to "Reduce" the packaging coming into the house. What can you do to "Reuse" it?
Do you have any parcels to send out yourself? Don't buy new packaging, reuse what you already have right in front of you. Can the boxes be used for storing anything? Do you know anyone about to move house who may appreciate the materials? Offer it up on Freecycle or similar websites. Quite often small online businesses and even eBay sellers will be grateful for free packaging materials.
5. Get Recycling
If you still have packaging spilling over, please don't send it to landfill. Recycle what you can, cardboard, paper, filler paper, some filling chips and some plastics may be recycled.
At Little Green Steps we do our best to use minimal packaging without compromising the integrity and safe delivery of the contents. We endeavour to source biodegradable, recycled, reclaimed and recyclable materials and we encourage our suppliers and manufacturers to do the same. To read more about our Packaging Policy click here.