How to be sustainable at Christmas with GUFR

We asked Glasgow University Fashion Revolution for tips

With COP26 having just been in our city, we hope that being sustainable is something that students still have on their minds. The Tab Glasgow caught up with Martha Thornborrow from Glasgow University Fashion Revolution (GUFR) on how to be eco-friendly this Christmas time.

What ways can students be sustainable in the run up to Christmas?

“I think the biggest thing students can do is be mindful about their habits in the lead up to Christmas – if you’re decorating your flat try and make your own decorations instead of buying tons of tinsel that you’ll almost certainly use and then throw away afterwards. With lots of festive formal events for students happening around this time too we should try and hold back from buying a brand new outfit each time – shop second hand if you can, or borrow an outfit from a friend. It’s the more sustainable choice and usually will save you some money too.”

What zero waste gifts would you recommend?

“Zero waste gifts I’d recommend are things like handmade candles and soaps, as well as practical items like stainless steel tupperwares that you can take your lunch into uni in – Etsy has loads of good zero waste gifts to browse through. In the past I’ve also made chocolates and truffles and gifted them to people in recyclable packaging.”

Which local businesses would you recommend shopping at?

“Around the West End there are tons of charity shops – particularly on Byres road – where you can find pre-loved clothing and homeware. Roots and Fruits in Finnieston and GWR is also a great shop to buy nice gifts for people that might be into food – jams, local honey and lovely biscuits. If you use Etsy you can specify your search to look for shops that are based in Glasgow too which I really recommend if you want to shop local but still online!

What Christmas things would you avoid doing at Christmas, if you can?

“Perhaps some Christmas traditions like Christmas crackers could be avoided – ultimately you get a paper crown that you’ll probably throw away or at best recycle, and the small items that you win often aren’t very useful and just get lost! So I’d say if you’re having a Christmas dinner with your mates don’t bother buying crackers for the sake of sustainability and your bank balance!”

What recommendations can you give for the day itself?

“On the day itself, I don’t think many people really want to be thinking about sustainability – hopefully peoples more mindful choices leading up to Christmas Day will have made an impact. Having said that there are still small things to be mindful of eg. lots of wrapping paper isn’t actually recyclable, often if there’s glitter on it that is not biodegradable, so keep an eye out for recyclable wrapping paper so that on the day you can put it in the recycling bin rather than general waste. Also, again food is often the best thing about Christmas for people, but you could consider having fewer meat options on the table this year to try and minimise the environmental impact of your Christmas dinner.”

Any other comments about Christmas.

“These are all just ideas and I think it’s important to stress with these types of things that it’s obviously hard to do everything sustainably! Christmas is ultimately about having a nice time with friends and family so that should remain the focus, but I think the main takeaway should be to be aware of how your choices impact the environment and try and let that influence your habits in the lead up to (and after!) Christmas. Be mindful!”

We have also spoken to GUEST for tips on how to be sustainable at this time of year… Our interview with GUEST will be out next week!

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