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Green your festive season giving with these environmentally sensitive shopping tips from WWF

Protect endangered animal species through a symbolic adoption programme
Cut your carbon footprint and shop to support local jobs
Help to reduce waste and wrap gifts wisely

The festive season, a time of generous gift giving, also places an immense strain on the environment. Extravagant wrapping paper, ribbons and unwanted gifts become cash in the trash as non-recyclable waste finds its way to landfill sites. But with WWF’s new Symbolic Species Adoptions initiative and a few innovative green gift and wrapping ideas, it’s possible to transform your festive season shopping into a truly Earth-saving adventure.

“Three of the biggest harms caused to the environment during the festive season includes plastic waste through excessive packaging, food waste and carbon footprint by means of the energy that goes into producing and procuring various gift items,” says Justin Smith, Head of Business Development at WWF South Africa.

Adopt an at-risk animal

Environmentally concerned citizens can support the WWF’s global efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats by selecting a plush toy kit to gift as a Symbolic Species Adoptions donor.

“The adoption programme is the ideal festive season gift as not only do you receive a cute plush toy that has been sustainably produced, but all proceeds from the programme go toward animal conservation efforts and saving the environment in which these animals live. Some of the animals that you can choose include the rhino, elephant, cape mountain zebra, southern right whale, panda and turtle,” adds Smith.

WWF will then keep you updated on the work that is being done to conserve the animal that you have chosen to symbolically adopt. Of course, donor funds are used across the board to support conservation efforts as needed and not necessarily for a single species.

Here are a few suggestions to enhance your journey to go green and help save the planet and its precious wildlife this holiday season:

Grow green fingers
Shop at a local nursery for indigenous herbs, plants and clay pots that you can personalise. If you already have your own herb garden, simply pluck and plant into the pot. Not only will you be able to ‘wrap’ this special gift with a colourful reused ribbon and save the planet from new gift wrap waste, but you will encourage the recipient to get busy growing their own herbs. A gift that keeps on giving.

Bake and bottle a sweet treat
Use those stylish glass coffee jars of different sizes that you have stashed at home and fill them up with home baked biscuits and crunchies. If you don’t have any glass jars at home, place a request on your local social media pages and you will be surprised how many neighbours may just be willing to help out with a few.

Cut your carbon foot print
Support local markets, small businesses and entrepreneurs while cutting your carbon footprint. Take a morning to browse local markets for purchases like jams, preserves, marmalades, garments and soaps which make great stocking fillers while helping to keep money flowing in your local community. Buy fresh foods like eggs, cheese and vegetables from them too when it’s time to plan your festive season provisions.

Select pre-loved gifts
Thrift shops and local church fetes are gold mines for many delightful pre-loved gifts such as trinkets, handbags and jewellery, vases and vanity cases. The secret to giving a pre-loved gift successfully though, is knowing the recipient’s tastes and styles well enough to match them with the treasure when you find it. Admittedly this can take time and its best to shop all year round for pre-loved gifts that you can store at home and pull out for birthdays and festive gifts.

Wrap it up wisely
Gift bags and boxes, wrapping paper, magazines, newspapers, cloth napkins, ribbons, and gift bags can all be repurposed or reused. Store reusable shopping bags and small boxes to repurpose as gift wrapping.

Giving responsibly and for the greater good

The WWF South Africa online store offers some must-have items that are local, sustainable, support conservation and encourage people to get out and experience the beauty of South Africa’s natural environment. All products are ethically or sustainably sourced and are made of recycled or recyclable material or from 100% African cotton where applicable.

Some other options include:

Share the joy of the holidays and your support of conservation with family and friends by sending a WWF ecard.
Make a donation to WWF in a friend or family member’s name.

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