This week on Ours to Protect, show producer Ethna Quirke headed to Kilkenny’s Parliament Street to chat to Sarah Duggan, co-owner of the Little Green Grocery store to chat about shopping sustainably this Christmas.

Sarah and her sister Eleanor are passionate about delicious fresh healthy food. The shelves of their store are filled with wonderful natural products: organic wines, farmhouse cheeses, artisan breads, local organic vegetables, locally-produced sauces, jams, honey, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cold-pressed oils – making it an ideal place to pick up a gift for your loved one this Christmas. 

Tips for sustainable shopping this Christmas:

Presents – think quality not quantity: When buying gifts think less but better, putting the time into picking a quality item that will last a long time. This reduces the chances of gifts going to waste and can be better for your wallet or why not gift an experience – bring people together by gifting your time or a pre-bought experience. There are lots of options to choose from that will reduce your Christmas footprint. You could buy tickets to shows, concerts or events, gift a homemade coupon book, a gift card, pay for a haircut, a beauty treatment, a restaurant reservation – the list is endless.  

Remove packaging: Reduce waste even further by buying gifts with little or no packaging. Sometimes shopping local can help with this, especially if you have a local refill shop. If you must use packaging, use recycled, or recyclable, materials. Avoid plastic where possible, and don’t forget your reusable bags to carry all your shopping home!

Cut your food waste: plan ahead – be realistic about how much food you need and use up leftovers. Instead of clingfilm, use Tupperware, foil and wax cloth covers to keep leftovers nice and fresh! 

Eat seasonally: Make your shopping basket more sustainable by buying seasonal products, locally produced where possible. Doing so reduces the energy spent growing foods out of season or flying food to Ireland. Support local farmers by eating with the seasons.

Think about your lights: Use LED lights on your Christmas tree, they use less energy, last longer and look just as good! Also, switch off your lights at night. 

Don’t forget the tree –  If buying a plastic Christmas tree, make sure that you’re going to reuse it for at least 10 years. Otherwise, it would have been better to buy a living tree from a sustainable forest. Be clear on how to dispose of your tree once the season is over. If it is potted, think about replanting it. Or get it recycled and turned into wood chips. Check your local council website for their sustainable collection services.