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December 03, 2021

There’s nothing like a pandemic-induced worldwide goods shortage to bring consumerism into check! SunButter has always loved upcycling — especially around Christmas time when things tend to get stressful, wasteful and expensive — and this year it’s even more important than it was before. Let us guide you through our favourite ways to upcycle this Christmas using SunButter tins. 

Upcycling to the rescue

When it comes to sustainability practices, upcycling and DIY are king! While we’re unable to accept returns of our sunscreen tins once used (due to TGA health and safety restrictions), we love that our little aluminium friends can be reused in so many creative ways.

Here are some of our favourites upcycling gift ideas for our tins (obviously we recommend cleaning the tins prior to use!): 

  1. Oil lamp

Drill a hole in either side of the tin thread and poke a piece of wire through (or, option B: drill a hole in the centre of the tin lid so you can thread the wick through there). Twist the wire at its centre to make a loop (this is how you will secure the wick) and then cut a 6cm by 2cm strip from an old cotton tshirt or pillow case (important: make sure it’s 100 per cent cotton!). Fill the tin with olive oil and add essential oils if you like. You can even add some citronella so it can double as a mosquito repeller! Dip the cotton wick in the oil and then thread it through the wire loop (or through the hole in the tin lid and then secure the lid for option B). Light her up!

  1. Soap holder

No one likes soap build-up on their shower caddy or bathroom sink! Place a couple of elastic bands around your tin (see image) to act as a soap holder. It’s super easy to clean! Also, you can transport your soap/shampoo/deodorant bars in the tin while travelling. Genius!


  1. Christmas decoration

Christmas tree decorations just need to be shiny, right? And what about filled with yummies? For this one, get some twine and create a loop. Secure that loop onto the tin by wrapping more twine around the sides. Or, drill two holes next to each other through the side of the tin, loop some twine through and voilà! You have yourself a merry little Christmas and an upcycled bauble. To make it extra fancy, fill it with chocolates and cover the tin in some wrapping paper, even personalise it for your loved ones by adding their name. 

  1. Travel case / jewellery tin / holder of all the things

Heaven knows us modern humans have quite a few knick-knacks to keep an eye on: ear pods, contact lenses, jewellery, scroggin mix, false teeth, next year’s garden seeds, brooches, flower petals you like the smell of, tiny people that you accidentally shrunk a la Honey I Shrunk the Kids etc. etc. You pre-loved sunscreen tin can become a tiny house for all these items (and more!). 


     5. Tealight candle container

Because we always need more things to pop our tealight candles in while getting our picnic / dinner party / meditation / séance on.

Remember, friends: reduce, reuse, upcycle!


So, what’s going on with global shortages?

Oof, it’s complex. As you might have heard, there’s a shortage across the world when it comes to things like computer chips, timber, sneakers — and heaps more. Basically it’s the result of a big and bizarre flow-chart (or domino effect) of one issue leading to another.

It goes a little something like this. People in (mostly) Western countries shopped a lot more during lockdowns (because they were receiving government money to keep the economy going) and spent money on all kinds of material possessions as well as on renovating their homes. The factories in China that manufacture many of these goods (or at least one essential part of the goods) struggled to keep up with the increased demand while also frequently being shutdown due to Covid outbreaks. There have been big shipping container traffic jams. Also, there is a shortage of labour among people who drive trucks, load containers, pack boxes and so on.

One of the heartbreaking flow-on effects of this is that people across the world can’t get things that they actually really need, including medicines, protective gear and food, and that non-profits who usually distribute excess product to those in need can’t get their hands on these products.

Keeping it local

On the plus side, the shortage reminds us that there actually is a supply chain involved whenever we buy something. And where there’s a supply chain, there’s a carbon trail.

Which is where shopping local comes in. Not only does shopping local make more logistical sense (especially if you’re a last-minute shopper and can’t afford to risk long wait times), it’s also incredibly important for helping out small businesses, improving our local economies and reducing our carbon footprint.

Now that markets and bricks-and-mortar stores have reopened (along with services businesses that sell experiences like massages, theatre shows and wild dolphin and seal swims!), it’s the perfect time to spread some local love through your community.