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Scots concerned about Christmas waste

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The vast majority of Scots agree we all have a responsibility to cut down on waste at Christmas

A survey for Zero Waste Scotland has revealed that more than four out of five Scots (86%) agree we all have a responsibility to cut down on waste over Christmas. 

The poll, carried out by Survation, also found 65% of respondents plan on minimising their waste in comparison with other years, while 55% were concerned about the environmental impacts of buying new items over the festive period. 

With Christmas so often associated with excess and many preparing for an unusual festive period filled with firsts, Zero Waste Scotland has launched its #ChristmasTrimmings campaign to help Scots with practical ideas and tips on small changes to cut their carbon footprint and have a more sustainable season.  

Asking for a second-hand gift is just one of the ways Scots could turn the tables on a wasteful Christmas and keep the joy of the festive season. 

In answer to the question, ‘Would you consider buying a second-hand gift for a friend or family member this year?’, 37% of those surveyed said they would, with 48% saying they wouldn't. Previous research has indicated four fifths of Scots would be happy to receive a pre-loved gift, so the opportunity is there to ask for second-hand. 

Jenny Fraser, consumer campaigns manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “There are many small steps we can take in the festive period that can cut down on waste and carbon emissions. It is wonderful that such a high percentage of people agree that we need to cut down on waste and that many recognise the environmental implication of buying new.  

“Four fifths of our carbon emissions as a country are linked to the products we consume, through the production, manufacture and transport of materials. We need to reduce this significantly if we are going to address the climate crisis. 

“Buying second hand avoids the emissions associated in creating the equivalent items as new. Whilst almost half of people in Scotland say they wouldn’t consider purchasing a pre-loved gift, there are very good environmental reasons for doing so and previous research shows four out of five Scots would be happy to receive such a gift.” 

Top #ChristmasTrimmings tips

Ask for a second-hand gift 

Research from Zero Waste Scotland shows most Scots would be happy to receive a pre-loved gift – but many would be unlikely to buy one for someone else². Why not turn that around this year by asking gift-givers (and Santa) to shop second-hand – either in person where Scottish Government coronavirus guidance allows or on online auction sites likes Gumtree and eBay?  

Give a gift that keeps on giving 

Subscriptions, donations and sponsorship are a great way to share the love without the ‘stuff’ – and support a good cause. Why not invest in a streaming platform like Netflix for the movie buff in your life, subscribe to a comic or magazine, sponsor an animal, or donate to a charity close to a loved one’s heart? 

Make your own wrapping paper 

With Scots using upwards of 19,000 miles of wrapping paper in previous years, a DIY effort could be a fun way to cut your carbon footprint down to size. Why not use kids’ drawings to wrap gifts, or if you have received a delivery recently jazz up the brown paper it was stuffed with? Just remember to avoid glitter and foil as paper mixed with these can’t be recycled.  

Have a ‘Christmas dinner conference’ 

We all know how hard it can be to please everyone, so with smaller gatherings this year it’s the perfect time to get everyone involved in planning the Christmas shopping list. Whether you’re hosting an extended household (following Scottish Government coronavirus guidance) or just the immediate family, why not start a conversation about what you’ll eat come Christmas? Planning ahead will help you buy only what you need and stop good food going to waste. 

Zero Waste Scotland is encouraging Scots to start a new, sustainable Christmas tradition that keeps the joy of Christmas without the waste, and to share it on social media using the hashtag #ChristmasTrimmings. 



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