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Give the earth a gift by reducing holiday waste this season!

The holidays are a season of joy and giving, but they are also, unfortunately, a season filled with trash. Canadians produce tonnes of waste over the holidays — to be precise, about 50 kilograms per person in the month of December. That’s around 25% higher than the other months of the year.

Want to do your part to reduce holiday waste? Read on to discover four tips for reusing and repurposing items in your household this holiday season.

1. Get creative with gift wrap

One of the ways you can help reduce your holiday waste is to find household materials that work as creative, fun gift wrap!

Around 540,000 tonnes of wrapping materials hit the landfill each year, so our choice of wrapping paper, ribbons, and boxes certainly has an impact.

Some friendly alternatives to traditional gift wrap include old newsprint (be sure to keep the Sunday comics!) and brown paper grocery bags, which provide a canvas that you can use to create your own drawn or painted designs. You can also reuse ribbon and use recycled paper and cardboard to cushion fragile gifts in their boxes.

Person holds out a gift wrapped with reused and recycled materials

2. Start composting

The average Canadian wastes approximately 170 kilograms of food a year. One big change you can make this holiday season is to start composting food waste! Not only does it put the leftovers and scraps to use, it diverts large amounts of waste from the landfill. Many Canadian cities have a curbside compost/green waste program available. If you have a backyard space, it is also an option to start your own compost pile!

Several green plants sprout from rich soil

3. Mulch your Christmas tree

When Christmas is over, you don’t have to throw your dried-up Christmas tree or wreath in the trash. Some cities offer a Christmas tree recycling or mulch program. They will either pick up your tree during curbside trash pickup or offer drop-off sites. Make sure you remove the string lights, which can be recycled at locations across the province of British Columbia!

Two gifts wrapped with reused brown paper and ribbon

4. Choose recycled items

You can also help reduce holiday waste by choosing recycled products to celebrate the season. Pick Christmas cards and gift wrap made of recycled paper, wrap gifts in fabric or tea towels that can be used by the recipient, or choose items that don’t need wrapping at all.

You can also choose gifts made of recycled or eco-friendly materials — think sustainable foods, zero-waste grocery ideas, or a used book. Alternatively, donate to causes you know are dear to the recipient’s heart.

There are many ways to do your part in reducing waste this year, whether it is reusing a newspaper for gift wrap, ensuring your tree is mulched and composted properly, or providing a zero waste gift! If you put some thought into it, you can make the holidays happy for you, your loved ones, and the Earth.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season.

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