It's the Christmas month and the holiday vibes are already in the air. Everyone’s busy shopping for the tree, décor and gifts. It's always exciting to discover what lies under that tree, wrapped for you, and equally so to find out how your favourites liked their presents.
Gifts are often wrapped in cellophane sheets, virgin paper, cello tape and further, put in a plastic bag or a bag that appears to be made of cloth, but is actually made of woven plastic threads.
These are not great as while tearing them apart, they may produce micro plastic, which is released in the air and we may end up inhaling it. Most of it will also go into the trash just after one use. The waste produced during the festive season goes up by 25%, thereby stressing the waste management system and the environment.
So, this Christmas, apart from not shopping aimlessly, use what you already have, normalise re-gifting, reuse and upcycle packaging. But, in the case of gifting, here are five different sustainable ideas that are packaged along the same lines, too.
1. Accessories upcycled from preloved fabric
Manuka began collecting waste fabrics from around her home amidst the pandemic and started to stitch them into something more meaningful during the pandemic as therapy for herself. Her brand Manuka Upcycles is a small collection of one-off pieces from sling bags, mirrors, dream-catchers, necklaces and earrings made from pre-loved materials. Hampers curated for Christmas come with surprise gifts, too. Every sale over ₹ 500 allows Manuka, also a mental health professional, to offer a free therapy session to someone who can't afford it.
PRICES: ₹ 400 onwards
LOCATION: Manuka Upcycles, Porvorim
2. Sustainable anti slip yoga mats
Uurja Naturals, is a home-grown, FiiRE-incubated brand resolving the problem of fitness and sustainability. Started by Sudarshan Borker, the Bhoomi yoga grip mat is made of virgin cork and natural rubber, giving the perfect grip on a sweaty day, too. They also have aromatherapy and skin care products.
PRICES: ₹ 500 onwards
LOCATION: Uurja Naturals, Margao
CONTACT: +91 99161 16278
3. Minimalist wooden decor and trays
The Raw Project offers clocks, fruit trays, candles and more carved from a single piece of wood. This sustainable home decor is sure to stand out wherever it finds a home. Each piece is packed along with a thank you note.
PRICES: ₹ 1,800 onwards
LOCATION: The Raw Project, Verem
4. Home decor made from the wild
Wild Things is a unique line of art-based collections made with a base of clay, jesmonite, and brass. Unlike ceramics which can easily break, jesmonite is sturdy and a non-VOC composite casting material. Oish, the founder, infuses the base with other things found around like broken, stained glass, sand and so on. The coasters, serving trays, soap dishes, display bowls, wearable art-jewellery are perfect for sustainable gifting and can be made into hampers.
PRICES: ₹ 250 onwards
LOCATION: Wild Things, Vagator
CONTACT: +91 96476 69722
5. Mocktail / Cocktail Mixers
Blind Gilt, a pandemic baby makes holiday drinks super easy to mix and are just a pour away, even at home. They work fabulously by themselves or can be shaken with spirits. The idea of never running out of mixes, and their always being consistent, was the inspiration behind founding this brand for Swati and Vinayak
PRICES: ₹ 199 onwards
LOCATION: Blind Gilt, Ponda
CONTACT: +91 9619778984
(Heena Shah is an avid traveller and covers topics such as sustainable travel and lifestyle. Got comments, suggestions? Contact: Explorer.firstname.lastname@example.org)