Each year in the UK we use a shocking 1.2 billion metres of cling film, a product which is very hard to recycle. Beeswax wraps have paved the way for a sustainable alternative, not only are they biodegradable and compostable but the colourful designs are beautiful too.
At Oxfam we stock the wonderful The Beeswax Wrap co, online and in our stores too. Their wraps are handmade using organic GOTS certified cotton, pine resin, organic jojoba oil and locally sourced UK beeswax.
What are the benefits of using them?
100% natural – so no chance of any nasties seeping in to your food.
Reusable – just clean with a little bit of soap and cold water after each use and then use them again! Give them a refresh every 2-3 months to extend their life – more info below on how to do this.
Biodegradable and compostable – once your wrap starts to lose its life you can put it in with your compost or twist it up and use it as a firelighter – cool huh?
Keeps food fresh – the combination of natural ingredients and organic cotton fabric allows the wraps to breathe, meaning your food stays fresh for longer. This extends the life of a loaf of bread by about 3-4 days and your sandwiches won’t be limp and lacklustre come lunch time.
Clingy – pine resin acts as a natural adhesive and the warmth from your hands helps mould the wraps to give a strong seal.
How to clean beeswax wraps
All you have to do is use a splash of gentle washing up liquid and a bit of cool water and voila! They’re ready to go again.
Refreshing your beeswax wrap – electric oven method
To keep your wraps fresh and sticky it’s best to refresh them every few months. Please note this method is only for electric ovens not gas ovens – if you have a gas oven please follow the Iron Refresh Method below.
Refreshing your beeswax wrap – iron method
This method is quick and easy, and perfect for refreshing wraps too big to fit on a tray in your oven, or if you don’t have an electric oven.
If you’re now converted and want to get your hands on some stunning beeswax wraps, click the link below or visit your local Oxfam shop.
Oxfam have been pioneering Fairtrade products since the 1960’s. Products that help the women and men who produce them to earn a decent living. Times have changed but our commitment to Fairtrade hasn’t.
Check out some of our favourite Fairtrade products on the Oxfam Online Shop…
Smooth dark chocolate squares with decadent soft centres, Divine’s Chocolate Salted Caramel Thins are perfect for an after-dinner treat – if you can wait that long!
Cocoa grower Lucia’s story
Lucia is a cocoa grower and chairperson of one of the three local farmer’s associations where she lives, on the edge of the Gola rainforest in Sierra Leone. She’s also part of Ngoleagorbu, a co-operative that unites the three farmer’s associations and supplies Divine chocolate.
Lucia cares about her rainforest home and wants to protect it. And protecting the planet means protecting the people who look after it.
“In Ngoleagorbu, cocoa is our hope. Because we work together, the quality of our cocoa has improved, and our income has increased…Women now take part in leadership roles and have key responsibilities. We have a female buying officer. That would never have happened before. We feel more empowered in our community.” Lucia says.
Women account for 52% of the population in Sierra Leone yet they hold less than 20% of elected positions. Women’s voice, visibility, participation and representation in important positions remains very low compared to men.
“Fairtrade is very good for us, because there is a lot of transparency and we get a Fairtrade bonus from Ngoleagorbu. So Fairtrade is best for farmers because it works in the interests of the farmers.”
Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 44% owned by cocoa farmers.
Grown in the fertile Machu Picchu region, this Arabica coffee is rich and smooth, with dark chocolate overtones. Cafédirect’s Instant Machu Picchu coffee is ground from perfectly ripe Arabica coffee beans and the unique microclimate results in a coffee with light acidity and a full body.
As the UK’s first and largest Fairtrade drinks brand, Cafédirect not only pay the Fairtrade social premium for their crops but also reinvest at least 50% of their profits back into the cooperatives and farming communities they work with. Cafédirect’s Producer Foundation helped 18 year-old Emanise, the daughter of a coffee farmer, get a loan to cultivate her own nursery of 3600 plants. 89% of their cooperatives own shares in the company, meaning they profit directly from the success of the business.
These tasty Medjoul dates are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as being a great source of fibre, iron and potassium. Perfect as a healthy snack or added to cakes or savoury dishes.
Founded in 2004, Zaytoun is an award-winning social enterprise. 100% of Zaytoun’s profits are reinvested into furthering their mission of supporting Palestinian farmers through fair trade. Zaytoun won a Social Enterprise Award for International Impact in 2015 and Fairtrade International’s Award for International Impact in 2016.
Pressed from freshly picked olives, Zaytoun’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil has an award winning, warm peppery flavour. This Fairtrade oil is sourced from family owned groves nestled on sun-drenched Palestinian hills.
Guess how much money will be wasted on unwanted Christmas gifts this year? £10 million? £100 million?
In fact, in 2019 the generous people of the UK will spend more than £1 billion on gifts that their lucky recipients already had, can’t use, or never wanted in the first place.
But all those gifts have got so much potential to do wonderful things in the world. Just take your not-so-perfect gifts to Oxfam, where someone else will be thrilled to find them.
There are loads of great reasons to donate your unwanted gifts – here are just three:
1. Your not-so-perfect gift is a great way to fight poverty
So you’ve already read all the Dan Browns and you don’t need any more floral pyjamas. The least you can do is turn that brand new book or curious loungewear into cash and use it to help tackle poverty.
Oxfam shops raise millions every year, and thanks to people buying gifts before the big day and donating (others, obviously) afterwards, the festive season is our busiest period. By regifting your ill-fitting, unsuitable or already read items to Oxfam, you’re joining millions of people raising money to help end poverty.
2. One person’s trash could be another person’s treasure
Repeat after us: there’s no such thing as an unwanted gift – there are only gifts that haven’t found their happy owners yet. Because while that Hollyoaks calendar might not have been quite what you had your heart set on, it’ll be ideal for a fan out there.
And when you donate something to Oxfam, it doesn’t just sit on the shelf in your local shop. We’re the first charity to set up an online shop, shipping all over the world, making sure even the most bizarre and bespoke items find a home – and fund poverty-busting work along the way.
3. You can save the planet from the scourge of landfill
Alright, once in a while something lands on Oxfam’s doorstep that even we can’t sell. So you’ve been gifted something so grotesque, so ghastly, so grim, that you’re sure no self-respecting charity shopper would go near it? Oxfam will still use it to tackle poverty.
Many of the items that Oxfam can’t sell go to Wastesaver, our dedicated sorting and recycling plant. From there they can be sold to fashion designers who restyle garments and reuse fabrics. Some materials can be turned into useful things like car soundproofing or mattress stuffing. So in 2020 you might be seeing those hideous Christmas socks on the catwalk, on the motorway, or even back in your bedroom!
We’re proud to say that not a single item of clothing donated to an Oxfam shop will go to landfill. And a healthy planet is something we all want – for Christmas and forever.
Fabric knot wrapping is a beautiful, and zero-waste, way to wrap your gifts this Christmas. Inspired by the Japanese tradition of furoshiki, which uses origami-like techniques, it is a perfect way to show thoughtfulness and care – both in the choice of wrapping and in the way the fabric is folded and tied. The other great thing is that you are giving 2 gifts in 1! A lovely scarf can either be used worn or re-used again for wrapping gifts for the next special occasion.
You can use scarves, handkerchiefs or even a vintage tea towel – which many of us already have lying around. Your local Oxfam shop will have plenty of second hand options if you need to stock up.
Just follow these seven simple steps:
1. Lay the fabric out diagonally on a clean, smooth surface. If it’s patterned on one side, put it face down.
2. Place your gift in the centre, at right angles to the edges of the fabric.
3. Take one corner of the fabric and fold it over your gift.
4. Then take the opposite corner of the fabric and fold it over the first layer.
5. Flip the whole thing over and slide it towards you.
6. Grab the two sides of the fabric, tightly. Bring them to the centre, and knot.
7. Then knot once more to complete your beautifully wrapped gift.
Try reducing your environmental impact this Christmas by wrapping a present or two using fabric knots or wrapping with recycled materials. Friends and family will be delighted with your unique and thoughtful choice of planet-friendly wrapping.
Throughout the festive season, we’ll be sharing more ways that you and families around the world can enjoy a #GreenChristmas. Stay up to date or share your own sustainability tips using the hashtag.
It might not be the most fragrant of stocking fillers, but a Pile Of Poo is certainly one way to gift with a difference this festive season. And there are more…
Poo. It’s unlikely to feature in many letters to Santa. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy some. Particularly given the impact it can have on Christmas Day and beyond. Course we’re not talking about any old poo. We’re talking about some very special poo. Poo with powers. Because a Pile Of Poo is one of several Oxfam charity gift cards guaranteed to put smiles on faces and make a lasting difference. Here’s why you should consider buying some.
1. Because… some people actually mean it when they say ‘I don’t really need anything’
Every year, at least one relative will come out with this one. So why not take their word for it and give a much-needed gift to someone else on their behalf?
2. Because… a poo isn’t just for Christmas
Not when it’s a Pile Of Poo with the power to transform the lives of entire families. Yes, with this particular Oxfam gift card, you can provide training in how to use it for effective, eco-friendly composting, helping some of the world’s poorest people grow more food to eat and to sell.
3. Because… it’s the ideal, last minute gift
Whether you missed the parcel postal deadline or have rellies living on the other side of the world, sometimes sending a card is the only practical option. That doesn’t mean it can’t pack a punch. Send a charity gift card and it’ll do way more than decorate the windowsill.
4. Because… Christmas doesn’t have to mean clutter
Brother always moaning about mess? Mum-in-law morphing into the family’s own Marie Kondo? Christmas is always a little chaotic and leaves many of us desperate to de-clutter. Charity gift cards are a great way to reduce mess and waste, whilst making a difference. You can recycle them, too.
5. Because… some people genuinely prefer giving
Whether it’s the plight of refugees or the devastating impacts of the climate emergency, the season of giving is a time to look beyond our own lives and families. Not surprising then, that many people like giving to charity at this time of year. Pop a charity gift card in their stocking – job done.
6. Because… there’s more to choose from than just goats
Fear not, you can still give one . But with many charities offering gift cards, there are plenty of others to choose from too. With Oxfam, you can pick Heroic Honey Bees, life-changing Education For Girls, Care For Mums And Babies and many more. Basically, whoever you’re shopping for, you’re likely to find a good fit.
7. Because… you can ace Christmas AND help the planet
Care about the environment or know someone who does? Help For Farmers Facing Climate Change provides training for farmers to help them grow more food and earn more income, in the face of extreme and unpredictable weather. Everyone loves a #GreenChristmas 🙂
Wrapping and unwrapping presents is an important part of Christmas for most of us, but it can also be quite a wasteful time with tonnes of discarded Christmas paper committed to landfill. Here are just a few eco friendly alternatives for wrapping your Christmas gifts this year with the added bonus that they will look extra special too.
1. Vintage scarves wrap
The great thing about using vintage scarves to wrap Christmas presents is that you are actually giving 2 gifts in 1. A lovely scarf can either be worn or reused again next year for wrapping more Christmas gifts. You can either tie the scarves to hold them in place or tie with a pretty ribbon. You can find a great selection of vintage scarves in the Oxfam Online Shop.
2. Old magazines or old road map wrap
For fashionista friends, old fashion magazines can make great wrapping paper for smaller gifts. Pick out the pages full of colourful photographs for a bright look or for a monochrome look, choose pages that are mainly black and white and finish it off with a bright red or gold ribbon.
Personalise plain old brown paper with stamps and create a 100% unique wrapping paper.
For maximum sustainability, you can make your own stamps using potatoes. Plus it’s a great way to get the kids involved.