Shoppers urged to buy second-hand as £3.5bn is wasted on Christmas gifts

Online resale platform Gumtree is urging shoppers to buy second-hand Christmas presents in a bid to reduce waste and beat the ‘eco-guilt’.

It comes as research from the circular economy platform shows that one in five (18%) presents given this Christmas are set to be abandoned by spring, with a total of £3.5 billion being spent on wasted gifts.

This is despite 41% of shoppers having ‘eco-guilt’ over the amount of waste generated during the Christmas period.

Gumtree chief marketing officer Hannah Rouch is urging shoppers to “think ‘why’ before they buy,” as well as where they’re buying gifts from.

“Despite many of us wanting to do our bit for the environment, it’s clear when push comes to shove, we turn to cheap, mass-produced items, resulting in tinsel-topped mountains of waste – that will ultimately be abandoned by spring.”

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“As we face a monumental consumption crisis, there’s no better time than during the peak Christmas retail period to make a difference and buy pre-loved,” she added.

“More than half of us (53%) enter the season with sustainable intentions but let these slip, however with so many unique, quality items already in existence there’s no reason why these eco-intentions can’t be achieved and purchases made which don’t cost the earth.”

The research also highlights that almost half (48%) of consumers believe they would be judged for giving a second-hand item as a gift, while more than a third (35%) believe a second-hand item wouldn’t be as good quality.

Elsewhere, Lidl is embracing a circular economy over the festive period by launching a Christmas jumper rental service.

In collaboration with By Rotation, every one of Lidl’s Christmas jumpers between 2020 and 2023 is now available to rent, with three new jumpers designed from upcycled materials.

Circular economyNewsReports and dataRetail

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