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Aussies spread more waste than cheer throughout the festive season with most gifts unused

Published on 27/11/2018

Media Release

Aussies spread more waste than cheer throughout the festive season with most gifts unused

ING Dreamstarter partners with one of the world’s best gift-wrappers, Megumi Inouye, to revive the art of gift giving in Australia

  • 75% of Aussies admit they don’t use the gifts they receive for Christmas
  • 54% admit to feeling disappointed or annoyed when receiving a gift they won’t use
  • 1 in 5 Aussies leave gift wrapping until the last minute – despite more than a third of Aussies saying they feel disappointed and unloved when receiving a gift that’s been wrapped with little or no effort

Tuesday, 27th November, 2018: New research from ING suggests the art of gift giving has fallen by the wayside as 75% of Australians admit they don’t use the Christmas gifts they receive, with the majority going to waste.

According to the research, $8.7 billion is spent on gifting during the festive season ($8.2 billion on gifts and $512 million on wrapping paper). This is a costly expense as more than half (54%) of Aussies say they feel annoyed and disappointed when they receive a gift they don’t want and a third say they feel unloved when a gift is wrapped with little or no effort.

This Christmas, ING’s Dreamstarter community – a collective of small businesses tackling social issues – want to put an end to wasteful gifting through its Gifts that Give initiative, an online shop where you can purchase gifts that give back to society – something nearly half of Australians (47%) would like to do more of.

They’ve also partnered with Megumi Inouye, one of the world’s best gift wrappers, who hopes to revive the art of gift-giving and inspire Aussies to wrap up a gift that gives this festive season.

“It’s clear the small details matter in the gift-giving process, including how it is wrapped. Receiving a disappointing or badly wrapped gift can be just as uncomfortable for the receiver as it is for the gift-giver, so I’m excited to be a part of ING’s Dreamstarter initiative to help Aussies wrap up gifts that give, while attempting to reduce waste over the holiday season,” Megumi Inouye says.

“The way you wrap and present a gift can be just as impactful as the gift itself. For me, gifting is an art form and wrapping is the vehicle of expressing the intention, the feeling behind the gift and what will continue to remain in people’s hearts even after the gift itself loses its practical purpose,” adds Inouye.

With one-in-five Aussies confessing to leaving wrapping up gifts to the last minute, Megumi Inouye, has shared five easy yet effective ways to wrap gifts in a sustainable way that makes reducing waste easier during the festive period.

  • Consider the person you’re buying for, so you’re not wrapping up a gift that goes to waste: We often procrastinate over what we’re going to buy our loved ones and then leave wrapping it up to the last minute, usually presenting a gift that hasn’t been wrapped with love. A little bit of thought put behind a gift and how you wrap it can make all the difference. Try and find a way to make wrapping the gift extra special, such as making a card out of an old photo or reusing the same card each year for each other and dating it, to avoid this unnecessary waste.
  • Repurpose paper with unique designs for a splash of colour: Given that Aussies throw out $282 million worth of wrapping paper is each year, it’s important to try and reuse wrapping materials where possible.Everyday items such as scrap fabrics, cloth napkins, buttons and bottle caps can all be repurposed into gift wrapping material. I also try to keep cards, invitations, theatre programs or anything with beautiful graphics, as they can always be used as accent pieces on the gift, or made into gift tags.
  • Keep a hold of ribbons and strings gifted to you: Ribbons are colourful and festive, so throwing them out after one use would be a waste. I like to repurpose old ribbon as adornment pieces to plain gift wrapping or make a new topper design with them.
  • Leave a little to the imagination: It’s a misconception to think that the entirety of a gift needs to be wrapped to be considered as gift wrapping. It’s sometimes nice to give a hint of what the gift could be. For example, I often place books in a paper sleeve and only cover the title portion. Alternatively, a wine bottle need only be partly covered with a message to be a considered a thoughtful gift.
  • Create your own packaging: I like creating my own packaging material from recycled paper. It’s not only sustainable, but the different shades of colours can make for an artful presentation. Put old colourful wrapping paper, magazines and newspaper in the shredder and use it as packaging material

For more information on how to wrap up gifts that give, visit


Notes to editor
For more information please contact:

Megan Landauro, 0413 317 225,

Cassie Geselle, 0413 358 948 ,

This study was conducted by YouGov Galaxy in September and October 2018. The sample comprises 1,039 Australians aged 18 years and older.

Age, gender and region quotas were applied to the sample.

Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

About ING

ING changed the way Australians bank 19 years ago by launching the country’s first high interest, fee free online savings account. Since then, we’ve brought continued value to home loans, transactional banking, superannuation, insurance, credit cards and personal loans.

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Source: Nielsen Consumer & Media View Jan’18 – Jun’18 (n = 11,837) when compared by customers of 15 other banks operating in Australia.

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