Gift Shoppers Put Emphasis on the Environment this Christmas

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The latest research and buying trends at gift retailer pressies4princesses.co.uk show that environmental concerns will be higher on shoppers' agendas this Christmas.

As the environment moves higher up the agenda, consumers are increasingly taking a more ethical approach to Christmas shopping.

Britons spend more than £10 billion on Christmas purchases during December alone, according to the British Retail Consortium. Attractive packaging has always had a major influence on customer choice, but this is beginning to change as consumers demand a more eco-friendly solution.

A new study by IGD and Nielsen revealed that 55 per cent of shoppers in Britain are looking to buy products with minimal or no packaging, and 44 per cent of shoppers want to buy goods with recyclable packaging. These figures have risen by 10 and six per cent respectively in the past four months - an indication of how fast attitudes are changing.

Online gift retailer Pressies4Princesses.co.uk has noticed this trend too. "Just as supermarket shoppers are calling for less packaging on their fruit and veg, we are finding that on-line gift shoppers are demanding an environmentally-friendly alternative to the traditional gift wrap," said Pressies4Princesses managing partner Steve Sugden.

The company has responded by offering an eco-friendly wrap solution which consists of natural-coloured, recycled kraft paper coupled with a hand-tied raffia bow.

Kraft paper is both easy to recycle and to compost. It is made in mills that operate a closed loop system which means that up to 98 per cent of chemicals used are recovered. As a result, only small amounts of chemicals are needed to produce large amounts of pulp.

Raffia is a 100 per cent natural product obtained from the fronds of the African raffia palm.

"The fact that kraft paper is uncoated and raffia is biodegradable - unlike traditional nylon ribbon - means that when used together they offer a much more ethical choice," said Steve. "We introduced this option a few weeks ago and are amazed at the swift and positive take-up of this new service - at least 25 per cent of people are now choosing eco-friendly wrap."

Pressies4princesses, an online retailer specialising in gifts for women, is one of the most highly-ranked internet gift companies on all major search engines. It sells a wide range of presents including hand-made jewellery, glamorous bags, candles, novelty gifts and beauty products plus bespoke items such as personalised poems, photo montages, pop art posters and personalised songs.

Pressies4princesses has implemented several other environmentally-friendly measures as well as using eco-friendly gift wrap. Almost all cartons used for mailings are unbleached and unprinted, then bound with biodegradable Sellotape. Recyclable tissue and kraft paper are used as "void fillers" in cartons instead of synthetic alternatives or packing peanuts.

Pressies4princesses also reuses or recycles as much packaging received from suppliers as possible. Synthetic packaging is reused for packing customers' gifts, and boxes are cleaned and reused where possible.

"We also use Ebay to redistribute our surplus cartons," said Steve. "We hold no-reserve auctions and sell them for a matter of pennies to people who need boxes for home removals or storage. This is a much more ethical solution than simply throwing them away."

"Superfluous packaging is one of the major issues on the agenda of large supermarket chains and other major retailers at the moment - but everyone has a responsibility towards the environment," said Steve. "We like to think that we at Pressies4princesses are doing our part towards coming up with a more responsible packaging solution."

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STEVE SUGDEN
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