Reducing Waste Over the Holidays

We understand that this can be a difficult task with traditions of gift giving, decorating your home and entertaining friends and family. This year we would like to challenge residents to use less, reuse more and strive for a reduced waste holiday season. Here are some suggestions to accomplish our goal:

"Green" gift buying

Try buying gifts that will not only last a long time, but will help reduce the amount of waste generated during the holidays.

•Give your own personal gift certificates for baby-sitting, home-cooked gourmet meals, or snow shoveling

•Give an experience: gifts like theatre, sporting event and musical tickets, a spa treatment or dinner out, instead of buying products that contain excess packaging

•Make home-made gifts such as food or crafts (these can be reusable too)

•Pass on the green spirit: adopt a piece of the rain forest in the name of a loved one, a set of reusable food containers or a potted plant

Christmas trees and home decorations

•Keep the living alive: buy a potted Christmas tree or a large potted plant which can be transplanted into your garden in the spring

•Life after the holidays: greenery (fir trees, wreaths and boughs) can be used as mulch in your garden, composted or taken to the Recycling Depot (4202 -51 Avenue) to be chipped for use as mulch material and soil conditioner.

•Instead of spending money on commercial home decorations, try making some of your own. For example use strings of popcorn and cranberries instead of tinsel to decorate your tree. When the tree is taken down place popcorn and cranberry strings outside to feed the birds

•Time it: put your outdoor lights and decorations on a timer so they’re not burning throughout the night

Useful and creative alternatives for the wrapping of gifts

•Wrap your presents in newspaper. Use the comic section of any newspaper, old calendars or magazines

•Holiday gift bags can be exchanged and reused over the years

•Use reusable containers such as baskets, wood boxes, cookie tins, decorative jars and old shoe boxes to contain your gifts. Simply decorate the container with fabric, poster paint or magazine cut-outs. These gift boxes can in return be used again and again

•Make your own wrapping paper by decorating scrap paper, paper grocery bags or left-over tissue paper with ink or poster paint using cookie-cutters or a rubber stamp as the pattern or design

Cards and gift tags

To save trees and the energy used to produce festive cards and gift tags, use these handy tips to make use of excess paper and paper packaging. Keep your bows and ribbons to reuse next year.

•Create your own holiday greeting cards using any extra cardboard packaging from consumer goods

 •Call friends and relatives to wish them “Happy Holidays” instead of sending cards

•Save any cards or wrapping paper used during this Christmas holiday for next Christmas. Saved cards and wrapping paper can be used for creation of unique gift tags.

Entertaining ideas

•Get organized: buy foods in bulk to avoid excess consumer packaging

•Buy food and drinks packaged in recyclable or returnable containers

•Minimize food waste by planning meals carefully

•Keep filling your yard waste container with leftover kitchen organic food material, including fruit, vegetable, coffee grounds, and even soiled paper towels/tissues/compostable paper food packaging

•Avoid whenever possible single-use paper products such as napkins, disposable dishes or cutlery.

Helpful tips to remember after the holiday season is over

•Save and reuse all boxes, bags, bows, ribbons and even good quality wrapping paper

•Upgraded your electronic gadgets, games, devices leaving you with unwanted stuff? Take them to the Recycling Depot.

•Remember to buy products that contain reduced amounts of packaging or packaging which can be recycled.

•If you buy a real Christmas tree and wish to participate in recycling your Christmas tree, you can bring it to the Recycling Depot between December 27 and February 28th. Your Christmas tree will be chipped for use as mulch material and soil conditioner.