December is a time of goodwill and celebration as I have been timely remembered by the four – party, dinner, lunch and drink – invitations I have received over the last 12 hours. Usually accompanied by a seasonal increase in eating and drinking, it also result in a lot of fun as well as, unfortunately, in more spending and waste – food and packaging – created. Taking the UK as a mere example:
- It is estimated that over Christmas as much as 83 sq km of wrapping paper will end up in rubbish bins, enough to Hyde Park 33 times
- The waste created over Christmas is equivalent to 400,000 double-decker buses, stretching all the way from London to New York City
- Parties and presents account for a 30% increase in the number of bottles and cans binned
- Around 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging are thrown away over Christmas – that’s the equivalent weight of more than 50,000 festive polar bears
Although these data should make us stop to think next time we go shopping, they should not destroy the excitement for parties, presents and delicious food but rather make us think outside the box, or in this case, into the packaging.
The idea came to me during my trip to Paris last week, when I was invited to attend a meeting hosted in the Design Pack Gallery, located at 24 rue de Richelieu, walking distance from the Louvre Museum. In the gallery, there were exposed lamps made of plastic bottles, wallets made of carton packages, jewelry made of caps, just to name few, which would help us to avoid any dangerous increase in the blood pressure, affecting 50% of the Christmas shoppers according to a recent research, buy smart and think green at the same time.
Some people look forward to Christmas shopping sessions and the search of the perfect gift that comes along, others – me included – already picture screaming children, stroppy parents and endless queues. Whatever the shopping approach and budget (!!!) are, it is time to be thoughtful, unique and creative trying to avoid the common video games, picture-frames and jumpers.