THE DREADED deadline for Christmas shopping is approaching and with a long list still to tick, the only option might seem grabbing yet another questionable gadget that gets regularly binned. 

In the wake of COP26 and with Scotland sending more waste to incinerators while recycling rates fall, environmental campaigners are working to raise awareness of the issue.

Laura Young, a Glasgow-based zero-waste activist and influencer, known online as Less Waste Laura, is inspiring her Instagram followers to go greener this festive season.

She said: “Christmas is a time when we waste about 30% more than any other time of year. 

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“This is from food, wrapping, decorations, fashion, and of course -  presents. 

“Tis the season for over consumption and lots of waste from different parts of our lives. 

“To cut down on waste this festive season it's important to think about how we can, little by little, reduce the amount of waste we produce.”

Laura is constantly sharing ideas on how to do things differently, and this includes finding more eco-friendly alternatives to the traditional Christmas presents.

“That might be looking for gifts in unusual places like charity shops, secondhand online platforms, doing some home baking, or buying experiences and subscriptions to still gift something someone will love,” she said.

Glasgow Times: Photo: Laura YoungPhoto: Laura Young

“I also think about how I can avoid wrapping excessive plastic decorations with glitter or non-recyclable paper.”

Another idea for festive fun that's more sustainable is opting for a secret Santa-style gifting arrangement, she said. 

“That means everyone still gets something they (hopefully) love, while avoiding lots of unwanted presents because we feel we have to get everyone something.”

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Gifting experiences is another idea for great presents, giving memories that will last a lifetime, without harming the environment. 

“I'd check out what shows, concerts, comedians, and plays are coming up in the new year for example, or look into subscriptions for audio books, music, or TV,” added Laura. 

“I try to think about different experiences we could go on together.”

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Second hand is not to be shunned either. It extends the life of items, preserving resources and avoiding waste, while also saving money.

Zero Waste Scotland research revealed four-in-five Scots would be happy to receive a preloved gift,, while 37% would consider buying a second-hand present for friends and family.

“Preloved fashion and tech make for perfect second-hand gifts,” said Laura.

Ultimately, there are many ways to reduce waste around the holidays, and it doesn’t just come down to presents.

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Laura added: “You can also try to limit the amount of new decorations you buy, and food you waste, to limit the negative impact you have this year. 

“For example, it can be a good idea to get some great leftover recipes in preparation for the odds and ends we always seem to have at this time of year.”

Follow Laura at @lesswastelaura on Instagram for more tips on how to reduce household waste.