How To Make Green Choices In The Office Space

How To Make Green Choices In The Office Space

Home > Green Business

Small Steps, Giant Impact: How we help the Planet at Work

Here at Giant Towers, we make it our priority to not only deliver top-quality digital marketing services to our clients but also to look after the planet. 

While we have our very own environmental policy and company goals (like reaching a net-zero carbon output by 2028), we were curious to see what our individual giants do to care for the planet while at work.

Just how much of our green, clean, company culture has rubbed off on them? This week, we asked 8 of our Giants what they do to prioritise the environment in the workplace. And here’s what they said …. 

Switch it off!

Starting with a simple but effective tip from Callie: ‘I turn my laptop charger and ring light off when I’m not using them’. This is particularly effective for those who work at home, as it also helps to keep electricity bills down! When considering how Uswitch estimates that households, where people work from home use 25% more electricity per day, switching it off really, is a step we can’t afford to overlook!

On a similar note, another of our Giants, Jack, chimed in: “When at work, I always turn the radiators off when they aren’t required, and ensure that I switch the lights off behind me, especially at the end of the day”.

Cleverly, and fully embracing the digital side of digital marketing, Callie is also careful to never print anything out, in order to save paper. What’s more, she deletes any unneeded emails to not take up server space — smart move!

Take the stairs 

Billie likes to take things one step at a time — literally. Every morning, Billie tells us, she starts the working day by traversing the flights of stairs at Giant Towers, instead of taking the lift like most of us do.

This is no small feat, we call it Giant Towers for a reason. In her own words: “I can imagine it’s the same for everyone, but taking the stairs increases my motivation, improves mental health, and is a small green accomplishment before you start the day”. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. 

Remember your gadgets & gizmos! 

Shaun decided to give us a bit of a rucksack tour as his answer to this one. 

For Shaun, the key to sustainability is all about gizmos… and consistency. But mainly gizmos. When asked how he looks after the planet at work, he responded with: “I ensure my work bag is full of reusable gadgets, like my Stojo cup, bamboo cutlery set, Bobble water bottle, and my foldable shopping bag (for those spontaneous purchases)”. 

While it’s really useful to purchase these reusable items (and they are everywhere at the moment), it’s even more important to make sure you carry them with you so you can actually use them. It’s all well and good owning a bamboo straw, but if you end up forgetting it and using a plastic one instead, you might as well have not bothered! 

As Shaun says, the products can be, “super helpful around the office or for when I go to meetings and events. I’ve relied on these tried and tested products countless times over the years”. 

Another thing that Shaun does is use his work benefits for eco-friendly purchases. This year, Shaun used his Profit Share to purchase a Fair Phone, allowing him to switch to Honest Mobile, a carbon-neutral service provider.

Opt for a packed lunch

Maya told us that she makes sure to bring a packed lunch every day to reduce her consumption of single-use plastics. 

As well as grabbing a reusable water bottle to drink from, Maya packs her lunch at home so that she isn’t tempted to go to the shop and purchase items that come with excess packaging. 

While many of our green-fingered Giants bring their own reusable cutlery and lunchboxes, they all know that the office has an army of crockery and cutlery for them to use if they need it. 

That being said, Maya also relies on the office facilities to dispose of any leftovers, telling us: “I always make sure to recycle when I am in the office. There are loads of different bins in the office for all sorts of different things, so recycling is really easy!”

We’ve tried to make it much easier for our Giants to make smarter choices waste-wise, so we have at least one recycling station on all three floors. This includes a small general waste bin, one for plastic, one for paper, one for metal, and one for glass. 

Go veggie when you can!

Sticking with the lunch theme, Sam told us that he tries to make more ethical choices when he can, particularly food-wise. In his own words: “I’ll typically try to opt for vegetarian lunches and snacks day to day in an attempt to keep my meat consumption down during the week – although I usually buckle when it comes to pizza during the monthly Company Catch Ups”.

Speaking of Company Catch Ups — that’s our monthly whole-business meeting — we always provide vegan options for our Giants if they fancy it.

Sam also works from home some of the time and offered the following tips for fellow remote employees. “I work from home more than commuting into the office, which reduces the amount I use my car each week. While working from home, I have the heating off or very low in the winter, instead opting for layering up like a polar explorer”. We wholeheartedly support all polar expeditions of this nature, Sam.

Merch 

We also chatted to Alex, a member of our Brand and Marketing team, who told us that part of his job was to look into sustainable branding solutions. 

Alex makes sure to always consider the recycled and eco-friendly products first when choosing things like our notebooks and tote bags. 

Alex told us, “where possible, we look to support the businesses that are being greener in their approach to merch production.” 

 

Grow a green thumb

Recently, Charlotte has transformed into Giant Towers’ resident gardener, looking after all the plants in the office. When chatting to Charlotte, she told us how the people team do their best to practice sustainability in all parts of the office, even in the plant pots used to house our Giant saplings. 

Charlotte and the rest of the people team do a lot of research into the kinds of products we use in the shared facilities in the office. Just to name a few, Charlotte mentioned the refillable dish soaps from method, and the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper! 

Walk to work 

While we can’t all be lucky enough to live right next door to the office, some of our Giants live just round the corner from Giant Towers! 

Yumna told us that a big part of her eco-friendly strategy at work was to walk into the office, instead of driving or even relying on public transport. Walking to work if you can is a simple way of cutting down your carbon footprint and is, in fact, very effective when done on a mass scale.

According to a recent study, if 45% of all journeys under 6km were cycled or walked instead of driven, annual transport-related CO2 emissions would reduce by 0.12 million tonnes!

Not only is a brisk walk (instead of a car journey) in the morning good for the environment, but it’s good for your mental and physical health too. 

 

And there you have it! Those were some simple, yet effective, things our Giants do to prioritise the planet. Now, what do you do? Have a browse through some of our other blogs for more inspiration.

How To Make Green Choices In The Office Space

How To Make Green Choices In The Office Space

Small Steps, Giant Impact: How we help the Planet at Work Here at Giant Towers, we make it our priority to not only deliver top-quality digital marketing services to our clients but also to look after the planet.  While we have our very own...

Why Every Business Needs a ‘Green Team’

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4 Festive Vegan Recipes You Should Try This Christmas

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Why Every Business Needs a ‘Green Team’

Why Every Business Needs a ‘Green Team’

Home > Green Business

Here at Sleeping Giant Media, we make it our business to be clean, green, and not at all mean to the planet. 

One of the ways we do this is through our ‘Green Squad.’ A Green Team, or Squad if you’re trendy like us, is a dedicated collection of individuals from all areas of the business who come together to drive the business towards an eco-friendly future.

We believe that every business needs its own Green Team — not only to Green spearhead its efforts to protect the environment but also because it’s really really cool. Read on to find out more about our Green Squad and the reasons why your business needs to get one started (like, right now!)

An eco-conscious office space

Having a team dedicated to making your company as green as it can works wonders for your workspace. From ethically sourcing materials to making recycling the norm, there are a whole host of things your Green Team can implement in the office.

Here are just a few of the Green things we have in Giant Towers, courtesy of our People Team and Green Squad:

  • Recycling bins for paper, cans, plastic, and glass on every floor so it is no hassle to recycle.
  • ‘Switch It Off!’ light switch reminders (everywhere) and timers on each power source to turn off when not in use.
  • Exclusively recyclable materials from Muffle in our soundproofing on the 8th-floor focus space.
  • A constant supply of vegan alternatives at all our social events.
  • Cork coasters, because who needs plastic?
  • A push towards powerlessness and (subsequently) a very inactive printer.  
  • Shelves full of reusable branded cups and tote bags to reduce single-use plastics.
  • Biodegradable wipes to keep our surfaces and consciences clean during the pandemic.
  • Tissues made sustainably from CheekyPanda X Who Gives a Crap?
  • Refillable dish and hand soaps from companies like Method along with eco-friendly dish scourers.
  • Milk alternatives (oat milk) ordered from carbon neutral company, Minor Figures.

Though, in isolation, these changes seem small, when combined and maintained by a group of committed individuals, it becomes easy for your workspace to be greener.

Corporate responsibility 

As a public player in your local community, your business has a commitment to the environment. Your company has a responsibility to play its part in the fight against climate change. And, as of 2022, this responsibility may well be legally upheld.

In September of 2021, the UK government rolled out its ‘Green Claims Code’ to crack down on companies that misleadingly ‘Greenwashed’ their products and services without actually being environmentally friendly at all. 

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said, “More people than ever are considering the environmental impact of a product before parting with their hard-earned money. We’re concerned that too many businesses are falsely taking credit for being green, while genuinely eco-friendly firms don’t get the recognition they deserve.

With an active and visible Green Team, it has never been easier for your business to contribute to a greener future and authentically brand yourself as an eco-friendly business.

 

Focused change 

Having a specialised, core unit in the business dedicated to environmental issues is a surefire way to catalyse change.  Often, with environmental action, it takes the efforts of a small group to inspire the masses to make changes — and your Green Team can do just that. 

Your Green Team can act as a funnel of information, attending events and feeding back or disseminating research and resources to the rest of the workforce, making action easier. 

As Liz puts it, “Being more green can feel overwhelming a lot of the time, with so much information and do’s/don’ts and, honestly, judgement being thrown around. I like the idea that the squad can help simplify things for people and make it feel accessible.”

Here’s some action that our Green Squad has recently inspired:

  • Attended local forums like the Kent Plan Bee Summit to align our efforts with those of local initiatives.
  • Created informational content about the climate emergency to circulate to fellow GIANTS.
  • Conducted research into working from home to better inform our current practices. 
  • A few of our members became activists for sustainability over the festive period in the ‘Green Christmas’ campaign.

Company Image

Though not the main motive for assembling a team of Green avengers, the image of the company is strongly affected by the activism of its employees.

According to recent research by Smart Pension, consumers are now up to 58% more likely to purchase from a business if the business is seen to care about the environment. What’s more, studies also show that customers are willing to pay up to 20% more for environmentally-considerate products and services. 

So, it really does pay, then, to be seen making strides towards a more environmentally-conscious future — and what better way to do it than with a visible, active team producing measurable results. 

Here at Sleeping Giant Media, our Green Squad play to their strengths. So, while commercial manager, Shaun, delivers outreach talks in the community, Liz and Kitty from content write shareable, informational blogs. 

Here are just a few things we’ve been doing recently to enhance our greenness as a business:

  • Sourcing our snacks and drinks from local businesses like Kendrew Coffee instead of large multinationals. 
  • Participating in organised litter picks along our local beaches and roadsides.
  • Giving educational talks at local climate events like the Zero Carbon Tour.
  • Encouraging our GIANTS to try out a vegan option or two! From always providing a plant-based dish at our company events to running a vegan cook-along in Purple Week, we aim to raise veganism as a viable option whenever we can! If you’re thinking about trying out some vegan snacks, read our latest blog, ‘4 Festive Vegan Recipes You Should Try’.

Strengthen business bonds

A happy accident of forming a Green Team is the sense of community it brings. Since individuals from all parts of the business can join, the Green Squad has occasioned a series of unlikely friendships and has encouraged people with different specialisms to work together. 

Our Green Squad, for example, includes passionate individuals from all over the business, right from newly-recruited executives to the CEO! 

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Thinking Green: A Business’ Guide to Promoting Sustainability in the Workplace

Thinking Green: A Business’ Guide to Promoting Sustainability in the Workplace

Home > Green Business

Around 30% of the energy produced in the UK is wasted. And, like it or not, it’s our fault. By ‘our’ we mean employees and employers, businesses and buyers. Collectively, then, it is also our responsibility to respond to this issue — and the best place to start making smarter choices is at work. 

Whether you work from home, in-office, or somewhere hybrid in between, there are countless attitudinal, physical, and technological changes you can make to be greener.

Regardless of whether you are a business owner or an intern, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I practice sustainability in my day-to-day work?
  • Do I consider if there is a greener option when making daily decisions?
  • Do I/does my company actively work to reduce my/their environmental impact while operating?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, or even a half-hearted ‘not really’, it’s time to change. With all the resources out there, it’s never been easier to make greener choices. 

The current state of affairs 

Since the pandemic, the concept of ‘The Workplace’ has never seemed more dynamic and in flux. 

Offices have never been emptier, and the number of employees working from home has never been higher. In fact, there has been a 400% increase in people who work at home full or part-time since 2010. 

What’s more, according to the Office for National Statistics, 8.4 million people (that’s 25.9% of the working population) completed work-related activities from home in 2020. 

And, while popular opinion likes to brand ‘WFH’ as a cleaner, greener alternative to the daily office commute, research is increasingly revealing that this may not be the case after all.

 

Working from home: good for the planet?

When considering the energy efficiency of office buildings in comparison to employee homes, it becomes clear that on-site working has a greater shot at sustainability from the foundations up — literally. As David Symons, Director of Sustainability at WSP UK, notes, “Energy management in buildings is generally more sophisticated than at individual homes”.  

When it comes to the impact of working from home on the environment, a cumulative approach should be taken. Recent research from LSE and More Than Now demonstrates how quickly the little things add up. Did you know…

  • E-waste, for example, weighed almost enough to match the weight of the moon in 2017 at 73.5 million metric tonnes — and that’s before global PC shipments boomed by 10.7% in the 4th quarter of 2020.
  • Sending one email produces 0.3g of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) while sending an email with an attachment can produce as much as 50g of CO2e. 
  • A single Google search produces as much CO2 as a family car travelling 52 feet. That means that a ‘typical business user’ creates 135kg of CO2 annual — the same amount produced by driving the 200 miles from London to Brussels!
  • Even video chatting isn’t green. If the world continues streaming and video calling at the current rate, our carbon footprint could grow by up to 34.3 million CO2e tonnes before the end of 2021. In order for that carbon to be removed from the atmosphere, a forest larger than 75% of the UK’s landmass would be needed. 

 

Since working from home is only set to increase due to convenience, employee satisfaction, and business necessity, the negative impact on the environment will worsen.  According to a study by Upwork, 73% of all teams will feature an aspect of remote working by 2028.  

Additionally, working from home is rarely 100% ‘from home’. Increasingly, hybridity in the workplace is being offered by companies which could, according to The Carbon Trust and Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications, cause a “worst-case scenario”. Hybrid working draws together the increased energy consumption of WFH with the emissions from commutes to the office to create a lose-lose situation.

So, while you may think you’re doing your bit by steering clear of the office, it is evident that there is much more to be done than merely reducing fuel consumption and emissions by staying at home. 

 

So what can be done?

Luckily for you, we’ve assembled this handy guide to practising sustainability in the workplace,  no matter where that may be. 

How To Be More Sustainable Working from home

As Stacy Kauk, Director of Sustainability for Shopify, puts it: “You have company control over what takes place in the office […] when you have everyone working remotely from home, corporate discretion is now employee discretion”. 

For business owners concerned about sustainability this can seem distressing since WFH becomes synonymous with a loss of control over a company’s ‘greenness’. However, distributing, centralising, and encouraging the following tips allows for a joint top-down and bottom-up approach to sustainability, no matter where the business is operating from. 

Light & Heat 

Letting in natural light, unplugging lamps & turning off overhead lights in the morning hours is a good place to start. Using energy-efficient lightbulbs is an even better idea. 

To keep the heat in, close any vents or windows, invest in insulation, and if you’re still cold, whack a jumper on instead of reaching for that thermostat (remember 19-20 degrees is enough!). To help you keep on top of your energy consumption, use a smart thermostat or an app — you bet there’s an app for it. In fact, in the first 2 months of 2020, over 26% of adults aged 35-44 relied upon internet-connected energy or lighting controls to reduce their consumption levels. 

 

Energy consumption 

USwitch estimates that households with occupants who work from home will use 25% more electricity and 17% more gas per day than an in-office worker. If you heat your home for just 4 extra hours a day, you’ll produce an extra 180kg of CO2e (costing you £60 more!).  

Be sure to unplug unused devices so as not to overcharge them, set your laptop & phone to an automatic sleep mode when not in use for a certain period of time, and switch to a greener energy provider.

Now more than ever, the gas provider you are with has a huge impact. As of November 2021, we are in the midst of an energy crisis and, since over 22 million houses are connected to the gas grid, we cannot afford to ignore the shortages. 

Companies, unfortunately, follow the money. Our single greatest weapon through this crisis of sustainability is our wallets, purses, or however you choose to hold your money! If we invest what money we, as a collective, have into sustainable products and sustainable energy, the market has no choice but to follow.

 

Financial Sustainability 

Not all money has to be ‘dirty’. While many people regard sustainability and their finances as entirely separate entities, they are more connected than you think. Many banks like the CO-OP actually have a strong environmental focus, working on initiatives that benefit the planet. You can read the CO-OP Bank’s sustainability report from last year here. 

Other banks, unfortunately often the household names, are less environmentally-inclined. You can see which banks will handle your money with green fingers here.

If an entire organisation’s employees all switch to a bank with a smaller carbon footprint and a cleaner, greener reputation, think of the good that could amount to!

 

Driving 

We know what you’re thinking: ‘This doesn’t apply to me, I work from home”. Well, actually you have much more of an impact than you think. 

Although the rate of driving declined from 31% to 27% when WFH rates rose during the pandemic, the total number of trips undertaken by home workers increased from 3.97 to 4.45 per week. This increase is actually much worse for the environment than merely longer drive times because 80% of emissions are actually related to engine start-up rather than trip duration!  

So, if you’re WFH then commit to it and try to stay at home, using alternative transport if you have to run errands. 

How Business Owners Can Help Employees Be More Sustainable

While it’s all well and good telling employees to put on a jumper, without encouragement from the business itself, there lacks incentive and accountability. Individual green behaviour can only become habitual with collective support from within the company, and here’s how:

Educate & Inspire 

Research and disseminate useful information surrounding climate change, recycling tips, local and global resources, and best practices such as plant-based alternatives and energy conservation hacks. Send out weekly internal e-reminders to encourage healthier habits both in-office and at home such as ‘switch it off’ prompts and themed green initiatives like World Water  Week. 

Act 

Set printing budgets and exclusively use recycled paper or look into reusable energy alternatives such as solar panels.

Other actionable improvements include: banning single-use plastics, purchasing recycling bins, setting up the Bike to Work Scheme and centralising the responsible disposal of small-scale e-waste like battery drives. 

Outreach 

Lastly, and most importantly, spread your company’s effort into the wider community. Donating to local food banks and clothes drives, organising litter picks, and even lobbying local councillors to make greener choices are all examples of how your company’s sustainability efforts don’t have to be merely internal.

 

Other in-office changes to be more sustainable

There are also plenty of other initiatives that can be rolled out across the office, irrespective of who by. 

Culture 

Above anything else comes attitudinal changes. If your business isn’t utterly committed to and convinced by the current climate emergency, it needs to reconsider its priorities. 

Make a dedication to sustainability a core value, central to recruitment, and part of training and development by creating clear aims and objectives, making them known to all employees, and reporting back on them regularly. For example, 

“We aim to reduce waste to landfill by 50% within two years”

 

Physical Changes 

Enforce printing guidelines and invest in eco-friendly inks while also making sure you are disposing of your ink cartridges en masse responsibly. At the same time, be pushing for paperlessness and increased efficiency in communications. 

If all that hasn’t convinced you to go greener as a business, we’re not sure what will. Maybe the fact that a consumer would be 58% likely to purchase from a company that actively cares about the environment. Or, perhaps, that customers are willing to spend up to 20% more on environmentally-considerate products and services. 

You see? This ‘sustainability stuff’ isn’t just for the environment, but it’s good for business too. Use the tips above to make smarter choices inside and outside your organisation for a greener future. 

So, what are you waiting for? Time to switch banks and recycle some paper!

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4 Festive Vegan Recipes You Should Try This Christmas

4 Festive Vegan Recipes You Should Try This Christmas

Home > Green Business

As the cold weather threatens to freeze over festive plans, we’ve put together a menu of vegan courses to warm you right up! Whether swapped in as alternatives around the Christmas dinner table or used to spice up your usual menu, these delicious dishes take into account both seasonality and seasonings.

Yes, vegan meals are delicious, but they are also great for the planet. Did you know that just 500g of beef needs over 11,365 litres of water to be produced?  With the fruit and veg alternatives in these vegan meals, both your conscience and your tastebuds will thank you.

Tried and tasted by our very own vegan foodie, Kat, these vegan options are not only healthy but simple to make too.

Let’s start with an entreé…

Potato and Kale Enchiladas -- Epicurean Vegan

Starter: Kale & Potato Enchiladas

Ok, so this one might seem like more of the main course, but we couldn’t resist adding it to the menu, envisioning mini-mash potato parcels! 

Instead of using mince as the bulk of this dish, the vegan alternative adds fluffiness with potato and texture with kale — it’s a win-win!  Spiced with cloves, cumin, and pumpkin seeds, these parcels offer a healthy twist on a Mexican classic.

Pro-Tip 

Kat recommends adapting this recipe into simpler burritos if you’re short on time, using whatever casing and spices you have on hand since it can be quite labour intensive!

To see this recipe in full, head over to Epicurean Vegan’s site and follow the steps to deliciousness. 

Main: Nut Roast 

A nut roast is the classic vegan alternative to the meat offering on Christmas day. 

You get all the warmth and taste without the guilt … and the harm to the animals. 

While nut roasts have been done before (lots and lots of times) there’s nothing dry about this recipe from Deliciously Ella which combines mushrooms for moisture with nutmeg and sage for festive flavours. 

Did you know that nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and are actually a great source of protein and fibre? Making a nut roast, then, is not a copout alternative but a healthy, tasty choice in its own right. 

Pro-Tip

When Kat makes this meal at home with her family, she swaps out the cashews for more locally-grown walnuts to reduce the carbon footprint of the meal!

You can view the recipe in full here

 

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Dessert: Chocolate Cupcakes 

Described by Kat as “insanely delicious, fluffy and containing no ‘weird’ ingredients”, these cupcakes are simple, sweet, and sure to be a family favourite this Christmas. 

Using soy milk instead of cow’s milk and peppermint, almond, or vanilla extracts for flavour, this recipe makes subtle changes to the classic cupcake ingredients for excellent results.

Pro-Tip 

To stick with the festive theme, add a smattering of Tate and Lyle’s icing sugar over the top for a snowy feel. Choose your icing sugar carefully, though, as not all of them are vegan. 

Follow the full recipe here.

 

top down view of pumpkin scones with maple glaze on baking sheet.

Snack: Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

This one’s for those who just can’t quite let go of Halloween yet. 

A proper winter warmer snack, these scones are perfect for impromptu tea breaks or snacks on the go since they are simple to make and even easier to eat. Filled with a spiced pumpkin puree, lots of sugar, and topped with pure maple syrup, these scones are a mouthwatering tasty treat. 

Head over to the Simple Veganista website to follow the recipe in full. 

And there you have it, a menu brimming with vegan variety. If you decide to try your hand at any of these dishes, let us know what you think!

(All images from the relevant recipe websites – check them out!)

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A Very Green Christmas

A Very Green Christmas

Making Christmas Green

Join us as we find the joy in all things Christmas for 2021, and the big green man himself, The Grinch, brings the realities for a Green Christmas.

Home > Green Business

It’s Christmas time already! Hasn’t 2021 flown by?

From all of us here at Sleeping Giant Media, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & A Giant New Year.

Looking back over 2021, we can see we’ve accomplished some Giant things, and hope you have too.

We managed to take on 30 new Giants, growing our service offering and boosting the business. And guess what, we’re still hiring with some awesome plans to come in 2022!

We got to launch The Spark Agency with the aim of helping other businesses achieve their digital marketing goals through set packaged solutions and that’s doing amazingly, with a fast-growing team too.

We hosted workshops and trained hundreds of people, we attended business events where we were able to – reconnecting with people across the UK. We saw some Giant results for clients, bringing on some big brands to our portfolio and scaling up smaller businesses to Giant sizes.

We even launched a game towards the end of this year aimed purely at helping people to Find The Joy – our internal and external mission statement after a kinda crazy couple of years. You can still play that btw… just submit a score to the leaderboard for a chance to win awesome prizes.

We were listed as one of The Drums Top Digital Agencies, we won awards under The Investors In People for our reward, recognition and employee engagement programmes, and were even finalists for Employer of The Year, Customer Service Awards and Commitment To The Environment Award. Fantastic, right?

All in all, we focused this year, across our Giants and our clients on connecting, building foundations and finding the joy 👏

To all that have been part of our journey, or will play a part in the future, we love you!

Christmas Fun Facts

from Cindy Lou Who & The Grinch

“Did you know the scientists at Nasa calculated that Santa visits 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents, travelling at 650 miles a second!”

“Did you know that Unilever suggests 4.2 million Christmas dinners are wasted each year in the UK from leftovers? Enough to feed everyone in Folkestone 90 times. Buy only what you need, look up ways to use leftovers in recipes.”

“Did you know that Silent Night is the most-recorded Christmas song in history?! It’s had more than 733 different copyrighted versions in the last 50 years.”

“Did you know, waste management company, Biffa, suggests that more than 100 million bags of rubbish are sent to landfill each Christmas, weighing an estimated 3 million tonnes (weight of 300 Eiffel Towers). Reduce, reuse, recycle.”

“Did you know that if you gave all the gifts listed in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” it would equal 364 presents?”

“Did you know, £42 million of unwanted Christmas presents are thrown in a landfill every year?”

“Did you know that Christmas Eve & Day are the two most popular days of year to propose? An estimated 100,000 proposals are likely to take place this Christmas season.

“Did you know, in 2018, 400,000 tonnes of paper & card and 114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging was thrown into landfill when it could have been recycled.”

How To Have A More Green Christmas

Our Giants love to inspire others to make more green, sustainable choices for their Christmas – from gift choice, through to the wrapping itself… check out some of our guides an advice.

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Easy Handmade Christmas Gifts – Sustainable Christmas Gift Ideas

Easy Handmade Christmas Gifts – Sustainable Christmas Gift Ideas

Home > Green Business

‘Tis the season – to get creative 

The festive season is upon us, people. A time to deck the halls, wish for peace on earth (good luck with that one), and hear ‘Fairytale of New York’ so many times that involuntary ear-bleeding feels like a serious possibility. 

While Christmas historically is a time for being with family and friends, and making memories together, the Christmas period is now a commercialised hotspot where people throw caution to the wind and spend, spend, spend. According to the Bank of England, in the UK we spend on average almost £740 more in December than at any other time in the year – which is 29% more than in a typical month. That’s a lot of money. 

Unfortunately, this also, inevitably, leads to a lot of waste. And while many of us are wising up to our impact on the environment, and how we can lessen that, progress is fairly slow. In fact, a survey conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) in November 2020 showed that more than half of UK consumers will not be thinking about or buying sustainable gifts for Christmas. But buying sustainably isn’t the only way to have a positive impact this festive season. How about making your own gifts? 

Now, don’t panic – I could sense the “I can’t make things” reaction from here. Handmade gifts may sound overwhelming, but they can in fact be super easy, super cheap, and super fun. Plus, you’re giving things that are personal and individual – which is way nicer than yet another toiletries set. No one needs that much Lynx. 

Check out some quick and easy handmade gift ideas below to get you feeling inspired. 

The season for snacking  

No-bake edible treats could not be easier to make, and with the addition of some edible decorations or some cute packaging, they always go down well. Think rocky road, homemade chocolates, or give good old Gordon Ramsay’s chocolate, marshmallow & peanut fridge cake a go – no baking required:

The Tasty YouTube channel never lets you down when it comes to simple, step by step recipes, and these 4 easy chocolate truffle suggestions have got “I’m the favourite child” written all over them: 

Chutney is a Christmas table must have – and, of course, BFFs with all of your cheeseboard residents. Check out national hero Mary Berry’s recipe for easy homemade chutney, perfect for making ahead of time and dishing out smugly when the gift giving begins:

 

If your gift recipient likes to take the ‘jolly’ part of the season seriously, then why not make your own flavoured spirits, like vodka or gin. ‘Tis the season, after all. Watch this video for 11 flavour infusion suggestions to try – and let me know how you feel about option 8…

 

Homemade homewares

Handmade clay or salt dough ornaments can come in all shapes, sizes and styles – from simple stars with initials added, to full tiny models of your family and friends. However ambitious you’re feeling, it’s also a fun way to spend a festive afternoon. Top Tip – don’t forget to make holes for string before you dry your creations. You can thank me later. 

Don’t know how to make salt dough? Good job you’re here then isn’t it. Check out this handy step by step video (Top tip part 2 – watch it at 1.5 speed): 

 

Or, invest in some clay and make your own clay decorations – either for the festive season, or for all year round:  

 

Everyday household items like plant pots and mugs are perfect for sprucing up with some easy additions, creating something totally one-of-a-kind. These marble mugs are perfect for using up any old nail varnish you might have lying around: 

 

Cute crafts 

Tote bags are another perfect blank canvas for adding personalisation – and they’re handy to have around so you can avoid plastic bags. Use cookie cutters and fabric paint to print shapes and patterns onto your tote, opt for some tie-dye or bleaching for a trendy effect, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, dust off your sewing machine and have a go at making your own:  

Or, turn some old t-shirts into tote bags – and, bonus, no sewing involved! Whether it’s a t shirt you no longer like, something that doesn’t fit anymore, or perhaps a top with sentimental value, this is a great way to let it live on. Top Tip: not a fan of the fringe? Just tie the knots on the inside.  

 

Finally, how about leaning into the self-care vibes and creating your own sugar scrubs or bath soaks – which you can tailor to your recipient’s favourite scents or needs. Check out these four bath soak suggestions to get you started: 

 

That’s a wrap 

Now that you’ve crafted your cute Christmas chocolates or cookie-cutter-printed totes, don’t reach for the wrapping paper – oh no, no, no. Wrapping paper is a huge contributor to waste over the festive season, with research showing that consumers in the UK use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each Christmas –  estimated to be enough paper to wrap the island of Guernsey each and every year. 

 

Instead, why not invest in some reusable wrapping cloths, or perhaps get creative and reuse and embellish other materials – like newspapers, or paper shopping bags. In fact, brands like Fat Face have specifically designed their bags to be cut up and used as wrapping paper. You even get a gift tag, so there’s no excuse. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, people – and if each of us make some small changes, we can have a seriously wonderful impact this Christmas. Check out other ways to have a Green Christmas.

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