Sustainable Christmas Top-Tips by Claire Gabe, founder of The Sustainable Shop
Interview by Sam Clark | Photos by Anna Barclay
Top-Tips for a Sustainable Christmas
1 Give a sustainable gift. At The Sustainable Shop, we offer a choice of gift boxes packed with a carefully selected range of sustainable products.
2 Trees are for life, not just for Christmas. If you can find a tree with roots, you can keep it in a pot or plant it in the garden and decorate it again next year.
3 Find second-hand gifts on sites like eBay. Not only does it save you money, but it also saves on resources that it would take to make new products, and you might find a bargain and give your kids a big surprise!
4 Cut food waste – Food production is a significant cause of deforestation. It is the season to be merry but plan and try and be realistic about how much you need – store leftovers in one of our beautiful, sustainable containers.
5 Forage for natural foliage around where you live to make Christmas decorations. You’d be surprised what you can find.
SC: What inspired you to search out sustainable products and open a shop?
CG: I always wanted to set up my own business around something that I was passionate about and that I felt would make a difference. Having children, you start worrying about their future. Kid’s parties were a real eye-opener for me. There were so many single-use plastics, and they ended with plastic party bags full of plastic tat, which my kids looked at for a few minutes then discarded. That really started my search for ways to make more sustainable choices for my family.
I’ve always been interested in sustainability. During my days as a buyer in the fashion industry, it was a real challenge to try and persuade the designers to switch to more sustainable fabrics. Natural dyes didn’t give such vibrant colours, and at the time, they just weren’t considered as fashionable, but that’s all changing.
SC: What products are you selecting for The Sustainable Shop?
CG: The aim is really to find everything that I think will help families live more sustainably. I believe sustainability needn’t be plain or dull. I carefully select high-quality products made from natural materials and ingredients and packaged so they are recyclable or compostable. Whenever possible, I source from small local suppliers to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum and support independent businesses.
SC: Have you found sustainable party gifts for kids?
CG: Yes, we have loads of really great things for kids. I found an independent business that does sustainable party bags, and they do Christmas stocking filler presents. They do really nice activity kits for kids to make little bracelets or wooden Dreamcatchers. We have crayons that are made out of wood and are water-soluble. The whole message I’m trying to pass on is that actually, you can buy really great sustainable things for kids.
SC: How are you changing the way people shop?
CG: To cut down the massive amounts of food packaging waste we produce in this country, I’m trying to encourage people to think about how they’re buying their food and choose seasonal produce from local shops and farmers’ markets. We stock some beautiful containers and bags for food so you can avoid the extra packaging.
SC: Are you excited about the future?
CG: I’ve got a lot of ideas, which branch out further as a business than just being a shop. The actual online sales might become a smaller part of the business in the future, with educating people to make sustainable choices becoming the greater role. I believe the sustainable lifestyle is really going to take off. It’s not just a trend, it’s essential for our environment.
Find beautiful products selected by Claire that are kind to the environment at The Sustainable Shop
You may also find it interesting to read about how the Lexus Awards are championing young creatives with innovative ideas that could reshape our future, here