Written in collaboration with Ellie Beasley-Gould from The Greenish
Ellie & I discovered each other via Linked In and, although we've never met, we've been chatting for a while over email and realised we have loads in common. We decided to join forces to give you some top tips about how buy gifts locally, sustainably and ethically.
Ellie Besley-Gould is the editor at The Greenish and a fellow North Londoner. She set up the site after making a decision to be more sustainable and struggling to find a place online which brought together food, fashion and family life with a simple, greener viewpoint. While Amazon has rescued her from many a last minute dash in the past, Ellie has been trying to reduce the number of deliveries this year, so has spent a lot of time thinking about how to use more sustainable and yet achievable alternatives.
Amazon is unbelievably convenient. There is no doubt. We’ve all been stuck, a day before someone’s birthday having forgotten the big day and desperately trying to find a gift to deliver almost immediately. And who is always there? Amazon.
However, it is a pretty high carbon way to shop. Amazon’s total carbon footprint in the 2019 fiscal year was around 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. If that doesn’t really mean anything to you (or us) it’s equivalent to something like 6 million homes energy use for a year or 11 million cars driven for a year - it’s also significantly higher than the carbon footprint of Wales. It’s a lot.
It doesn’t take a scientist to guess that having single item packages delivered in oversize packaging to the door is going to be quite energy intensive. Which is why so many of us are starting to look for other ways to shop.
Covid 19 has added a new dimension to this with people having no option but to use their local shops during lock down. This has increased a lot of people’s desire to support their local shops and businesses - a habit lots of us feel very keen to continue.
The real challenge is making alternatives convenient, and that takes a while!
Here are some of our top tips:
- Ellie: Plan Ahead: One of the ways I’ve managed to ensure gifts are more thoughtfully purchased is to look ahead at the beginning of each month at what we have coming up - birthdays, new babies, house moves and thank yous. Then I can pre-purchase even if it takes a little longer than my Prime account!!
- Ellie: Get to Know Your Local Shops: I’ve been shopping on our local highstreet where possible and we have a couple of shops I can reliably count on for lovely gifts. By getting to know the shop owners I’ve discovered that they can send gifts for me if I purchase in store - which takes away the added burden of wrapping and posting
- Ellie: Find Some Go-to Places Online: By having my set of usual places to shop (for me, Wearth London, Weaver Green, Gifted Local & Etsy are my most-used) I get to know how long they take to deliver, what the gift options are and the range of products they have (plus, all my card details are saved already which speeds things up at the checkout!)
- Helen: I’ve recently discovered a great app called Swish For It which allows you to create lists and save items you may want to buy at a later date. This is perfect to save ideas for birthdays or Christmas that you’ve spotted locally and don’t want to forget about
- Helen: Dare to be different! This is a big one. Personally I love to buy unique & bespoke gifts for people or items for my house that tell a story. So often on the high streets you see the same thing over and over again. Buying something with a story behind it has so much more meaning and that item will be more treasured.
- Helen: Really think about the people who receive your money when you buy something locally compared to who gets your money when you hit ‘buy now’ on Amazon.
For some inspiration, Ellie loves these products on Gifted Local
Thanks for reading!