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Trimming waste, not trees: 5 tips for a sustainable festive season

- October 10, 2023 3 MIN READ
plastic waste


Ah, the festive season – the most wonderful time of the year for many small business owners! There’s lots to love about the season, from the presents to the parties and the boost to the bottom line. But Christmas comes with a naughty list, and it’s not all good cheer, writes Paige McInnes, founder of Little Change Creators

Despite calls for climate action and the movement towards a greener future, our global plastic production is increasing.  In 2010, global plastic waste was 275 million tonnes so it’s alarming to think what this amount is now.

According to National Geographic, 40 per cent of plastic produced is packaging, used just once and then discarded.  So, as we prepare for the holiday season and our peak time for consumer spending, let’s look at some simple ways small businesses can reduce plastic waste.

1. Buy with purpose

As you restock your shop or buy gifts for your clients, you can respect Mother Nature by shopping with intention.  Tiny changes, like choosing local brands or goods that are sustainably made, can make a world of difference.  Shop for quality items that last a little longer rather than on-trend throwaway ‘must haves’ that go straight to landfill.

2. Choose planet-friendly packaging

This is a big one!  We all love pretty things, but we can still have pretty without all the plastic.  How?  Choose brands that use colour and clever design with sustainable materials.  Eco-friendly doesn’t mean only using kraft paper anymore: there’s so much you can do with FSC-certified cardstock, vegetable inks and carbon-neutral printing these days.  Avoid harmful synthetics, including artificial felts, vinyl bags and petroleum-based wrappings.

3. Rethink the wrappings

Imagine this: you’ve received a beautiful potted plant, wrapped it in an abundance of cellophane, tied it with a shiny bow, and topped off with a sparkly foil balloon. A green gift, right?  The gift itself is green, but all that plastic packaging cancels out the good gift choice.  This type of packaging —which uses precious natural resources — is not recyclable, nor is it biodegradable.  So, when you’re glamming up gifts for your customers or clients, try using patterned papers, fabric wraps, colourful twine and raffia, plantable cards, paper decorations, evergreen sprigs, dried flowers or bio-glitter instead.

4. Become a savvy shipper

At Little Change Creators, we take pride in our sustainable business practices, especially when it comes to shipping.  Our factories are instructed to avoid plastic wraps and fillers so we receive all products in paper and cardboard, which we repurpose for our wholesale orders.

When shipping products to consumers, we use parcel boxes from Australia Post, which are produced from FSC-certified cardboard and designed for kerb-side recycling.  To us, boxes offer greater protection and evoke a sense of quality.  However, sustainable satchels are also available, including biodegradable and compostable satchels.

When if comes to packing and protecting customer’s goods, we prefer honeycomb wrap, but you can also use shredded paper, tissue or straw.  When you start to think outside the box, there’s almost always a sustainable solution.

Even when it’s time to seal your parcels, you don’t need to resort to the usual plastic sticky tape.  We use a custom-printed water-activated tape that adds a little on-brand fun and flair to our packages.  There are compostable and biodegradable ‘plastic’ tape alternatives too.

5. Reuse, repurpose and regift

In order to save our planet from a world of pain in the future, it’s important we start to reuse what we have and regift what we don’t want or don’t need.

Gift boxes, wrapping paper, ribbons and gift bags can often be stored and reused to reduce unnecessary waste.

Stock that won’t shift or sell can be snapped up by circular economy providers such as Circonomy.  Charities, not-for-profits and giving platforms like GIVIT also welcome donations to support disadvantaged and vulnerable Australians.

Staying on Santa’s ‘nice list’

When it comes down to it, Christmas is about giving more than getting….and there’s no better way to give to future generations than by taking care of our planet today.

So, as we inch closer to the season of spending, let’s stay on Santa’s ‘nice list’ by rethinking how we shop, pack, wrap and ship the goods we sell and give.  And for the products that aren’t on anyone’s wishlist?  Give them a home away from landfill.  Here’s cheers to Mother Nature!

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