With sustainability becoming a bigger factor in everyday consumer habits, many of us want to stretch this way of shopping to the festive period, too. The holiday is notoriously surrounded by single-use plastic, wasteful packaging and binned food (its estimated over 4 million Christmas dinners are thrown away each year in the UK alone), but a 2018 survey found that 72 per cent of the 2,000 respondents were keen to reduce their plastic waste output at Christmas.
Luckily, as our shopping habits and motives change, brands are beginning to take note and offer us the eco-friendly Christmas we’re looking for. Which is why today John Lewis, Waitrose and Morrisons have all announced they have banned glitter from their own-brand festive products this year, including cards, crackers, wrapping paper and gift bags.
As fun and festive as glitter may be, it’s made from plastic and therefore contributes to the world’s microplastic problem, tiny particles of plastic that find their way into the environment and wildlife such as fish and birds, causing them to die from the build up in their systems. We don’t need to tell you that this then has a catastrophic domino effect on the world’s delicate eco-system and therefore contributing to species extinction and climate change.
If that’s not enough to concern you, it’s also been reported that micro plastics could already be widespread in the human food chain, too.
The good news is that, while we’re all still unsure of what Christmas will look like this year, it’s shaping up to be an eco-friendly one. As part of the supermarket glitter ban, Morrisons has also confirmed their Christmas crackers will be 100 per cent plastic-free this year and will only include paper, metal or wooden toys inside.
Meanwhile, the supermarket glitter ban also extends to flowers and plants at Waitrose. And other brands are getting behind the eco-Christmas movement, too: Sainsbury’s has also said there will be no glitter on their cards, wrapping paper and bags this year and that they’re reducing the amount of glitter in their crackers, decorations and flowers; Boots has announced they’re getting rid of single-use plastic packaging from their Christmas gifts; Asda is introducing a sustainable Christmas range for the first time this year and Tesco reports only using edible glitter on their products.
And anyway, as anyone who has done the post-present-opening-clean up operation on Christmas Day will attest, glittery wrapping paper can do one.