I feel like the green niche is getting bastardised by consumerism the more popular it gets, with new “eco-friendly” products and brands cropping up every day all encouraging us to spend our money with them.
While that’s no bad thing, it’s pretty disappointing when I see major “green” retailers only stocking one-use, throwaway items that could easily be offered alongside a reusable option.
Buying reusable items helps to massively cut down on the amount of crap we send to landfill and they save you a butt-load of money after the initial investment, but by no means do they always last forever and you’re probably going to end up repurchasing at some point, so I think it’s time these retail gits stop being so damn greedy.
While not every reusable item out there is for everyone, I thought I’d share some of my favourite reusable versions of everyday disposable items that you might like to try out for yourself, starting with wrapping paper.
Blah blah loads of wrapping paper thrown away after Christmas, lots of First World guilt blah blah. Come on, you know it’s not cool.
You could just take pillowcases, towels, t-shirts or any other fabric you have and go all furoshiki on your gifts, but personally I decided to start building up a small stash of different-sized wrapping bags last year when I came across Wrap Revolution, who are all about reusable products.
Being the eager beaver I was back then, I asked owner Liz about her fabric suppliers – not only am I one of those irritating people who asks “Has it got gluten in it?” I am also now one of those knobs who asks “Is your cotton organic?”
Luckily Liz wasn’t fazed and answered my questions warmly and honestly. At the time, she struggled to find organic cotton suppliers – but because the very ethos behind her products was that they were high quality and intended for reuse I realised I was being pedantic and I ordered three of her adorable Christmas wrapping bags:
That’s a snowman pattern, a reindeer pattern and a snowflake one. Squeeee.
The bags have Velcro fastenings that make a ripping noise when opened and the fastening goes through a loop on a rung to accommodate different-sized presents.
Other reasons I absolutely love Wrap Revolution:
- They source eco-friendly British suppliers wherever possible, like exclusively designed prints which are then printed in the Midlands.
- Their gift tags and swing tags are printed in Britain by the world’s first zero-waste printer, and they use British-made twine and ribbon with their gift tags.
- They reuse packaging to fulfil orders – this is probably my favourite thing about them:
My interrogation must have stood out in Liz’s mind, as she got in touch earlier this year to let me know she is now stocking items made from organic cotton!
She very kindly sent me a couple to add to my stash:
The fabrics come from Cloud9, a supplier of organic cotton materials printed with low-impact dyes. Love ’em.
For more general gifting I also bought these cute reusable gift bags from Organic Ally which kind of remind me of really cosy pyjamas:
I’ve purchased several reusable items from Siew-Peng’s site and her customer service is wonderful. She includes a little note in her orders asking her customers to please spread the word and so here I am, as I truly believe she deserves your custom.
Many of her items are ethically sourced, fairly traded, pesticide-free and, above all, reusable to save you a lot of wonga in the long run – she’s even got a “Scrooge” page on her website estimating some of the sums!
Her blog’s generally really blunt and amusing, so if nothing else go and give it a read, you won’t regret it.
Besides these lovely baggies, we’ve also bought each other Christmas stockings this year which, by their nature, are reusable and eliminate the need for wrapping paper at all.
I got Graeme’s from Not On The High Street and although it’s made from hessian it was massively overpriced and I don’t feel that comfortable about sharing it.
Graeme’s just ordered me a handmade ADORABUBBLE felt stocking from an Etsy seller, and he’s also ordered us a “Thomas Family” Christmas sack to basically futureproof ourselves for when we have kids.
There’s also a growing number of other companies jumping on the bandwagon to offer you reusable gift wrap these days, but I haven’t had any need to purchase from them yet and it looks like they’re doing just fine in Google’s search results, so I’ll let you do your own research into alternatives if you so wish 😉