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Why sustainability really matters to Millennials and Gen Z — even during Christmas

Precious Adesina
Why sustainability really matters to Millennials and Gen Z — even during Christmas - PA

This year, the climate crisis has regularly graced the front covers of national newspapers; from protests by Extinction Rebellion through to wise words from Greta Thunberg, all underpinned by alarming scientific facts. And at the heart of much of the activism are very young faces. Thunberg is 16-years-old, Extinction Rebellion Youth protestors are in their teens and twenties, and many school children have joined in with weekly strikes to “disrupt business as usual” as the Global Climate Strike puts it.

For a number of millennials and those of Generation Z, the climate crisis runs deep. A recent survey of 10,000 people aged 18-25 in 22 countries around the world, found that climate change was their most pressing concern.

Dr B. Janet Hibbs, psychology professor and co-author of The Stressed Years Of Their Lives, says the despair felt by younger generations is not only about the future but also about the past. Having only been in this world for a short amount of time, they are being told that the activity of their parents has set them up for stark and uncertain future. Hibbs says young people are thinking, ‘“How can you leave us a world that may be both stressful and uninhabitable?”’

Now young people are taking the issue into their own hands, not only through their activism but with their consumer choices. One brand that embodies this shift is Tala, an athleisure retailer founded by online influencer Grace Beverley. "We are in the middle of a huge climate crisis and the ethics of a lot of fast fashion companies are really awful. We've passed the time where fast fashion was seen as acceptable," says Beverley, noting that the idea for Tala came out of wanting to make sustainable clothes that are stylish, affordable and flattering to all body types.

Beverley continues: "I don't think there is any space for unsustainable brands anymore. I think existing brands are going to be — and already are having to be — a lot more ethical."

As the world becomes increasingly more aware of global warming and the effects our decisions have on the environment, eco-conscious millennials won’t be putting their beliefs to one side during the festive season either. Here are some sustainable gift ideas that will keep them happy on Christmas morning and meet their beliefs, too.

Sustainable Christmas gifts for Millennials

1. We Are Tala Aster Crop Top

£35, We Are Tala

We Are Tala Aster Crop Top 

92% of this item is upcycled making it the perfect guilt-free top for hitting the gym or hanging out with friends.  "When I looked for sustainable and ethical options, they were either really expensive or they weren't in my opinion very stylish... I had to choose between representing my style and representing my beliefs. The majority of our clothes, you look at and you'd never know that they are sustainable," says Beverley.

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2. Lush Merry And Bright Gift Set

£80, Lush

Lush  Merry And Bright Gift Set

Lush keeps environmental issues at the heart of its business and takes them into account when making their decisions. Around 89% of its packaging is is from recycled content. Additionally, pots and bottles are made with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. This gift set includes 12 Lush bodycare favourites including shower gel, lip scrub, body scrub, and toothpaste jelly. 

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3. Veja + Net Sustain  V-10 leather sneakers

£115.00, Net-a-Porter

Veja + Net Sustain  V-10 leather sneakers

Veja trainers are both stylish and ethical. What more can you ask for? Not only does Veja use environmentally friendly materials, but its production is designed to support local communities in Brazil.

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4. ODDBOX eGiftcard 

From £10, ODDBOX

ODDBOX eGiftcard 

Odd Box started in a food market in Portugal when founders Deepak and Emilie noticed all the produce looked perfect. On their return to England, they were appalled to find out that around 20-40% of produce in the UK is wasted before it even leaves the farms. They deliver 25,000 boxes of those not-so-perfect produce to people across London.

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5. Pendleton Somerby Hybrid Bike Mint

 £280, Halfords

Pendleton Somerby Hybrid Bike Mint

Cycling is by far more environmentally friendly thank driving. According to the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, cycling 10km each way to work or school will save 1500kg of greenhouse gas emission each year. 

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6. Zero Waste Club Bamboo Toothbrush

£5, Selfridges

Zero Waste Club Bamboo Toothbrush

While brushing our teeth is such an ingrained part of our daily routine that we don't think about it much, plastic toothbrushes aren't good for the earth. Despite this, 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are used worldwide each year and the average person uses 300 in their lifetime.  These plastic toothbrushes take thousands of years to decompose. One way to counteract this is by switching to wooden ones. Start them on their journey to better life choices.

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7. Chilly's Water Bottle (500ml)

From £25, Chilly's

Chilly's Water Bottle (500ml)

Using reusable water bottles is great for the environment simply because it reduces the use of plastic water bottles used. While there is the option of recycling, fewer than half the ones bought in 2014 were collected for recycling, and only seven per cent of those that were actually become new bottles. Instead, many of them end up in the ocean. Time to give it up single-use plastic all together. 

Buy now

For more Christmas inspiration, read our guides on the best Christmas gifts for kids and present ideas for teenagers. We also have one on best ethical and eco-friendly Christmas gifts. You can find more festive features here, too. 

All the products mentioned in this article are selected independently by our journalists. The Telegraph makes money by adding affiliate links to some of the products.