There are many reasons to love the holidays, but did you know that Canadians and Americans produce up to 25% more waste during this time of the year? That means that over 540,000 tonnes of trash head into Canadian landfills (while over 20 million tonnes of trash head into American landfills) whenever December comes around. So while the holiday season brings good cheer for many, we want to share some ways to make the holidays even better by producing less waste!
When you think about all the materials we buy during the holidays to wrap gifts, a lot of it isn't recyclable and ends up in landfills. If every family reused just two feet of ribbon during the holidays, the 60 000 km of saved ribbon could tie a bow around the entire planet. Furthermore, if every family in the U.S. wrapped just three gifts in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover over 45 000 football fields. Plus, the 2.65 billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high - if we each sent one card less, we'd save 38 000 cubic meters of paper. So what can we do about all this waste?
Give an experience
like a movie night, cooking class, or day at the spa! Give a gift to pay it forward
and make a donation on their behalf to a charity that means a lot to them. Make a gift
! It could be a hand-knitted scarf, photo album, piece of art or even a tray of home baked cookies! Invest in their future
by opening a savings account, making an investment or buying some bonds that they can watch grow. Buy a pre-loved or secondhand gift
. Not only are you buying your loved ones a unique gift, you're also giving something a second life!Buy a thoughtful gift
that is both practical and will last your loved ones a long time. We can only imagine how many pet rocks, mood rings and fad toys end up in the landfill each year! So instead, why not gift your loved ones something like a reusable water bottle, beeswax wraps, or things like candles
which usually have very little packaging!Re-gift is just another word for reuse!
If you receive something that is absolutely no use to you, but perfect for someone else, why not re-gift it? This will save you a lot of money, time and waste!
Avoid wrapping with materials that can't be recycled or reused, like glittery or foiled paper and plastic-based ribbons. Often times, wrapping and ribbon packaging will tell you if it can be recycled, but it's just better to avoid using these materials if possible.
Tape is one of the worst culprits for waste, so try securing your wrap with a reusable fabric ribbon or string instead of using tape!
Reuse old cardboard boxes or tins to avoid using paper entirely.
If you're still in need of bags or gift wrapping materials, check out your local thrift and secondhand stores.
Repurpose other paper products that can be recycled, like newspapers or old calendars, or wrap your gift in fabric.
Save wrapping paper and gift bags you receive throughout the year for future gifts.
The most sustainable way to wrap a gift would be to not wrap it all!
ADAPTED FROM WASTE FREE EDMONTON. EXTERNAL SOURCE HERE.
There's no doubt that putting up holiday decorations can be lots of fun, but many of these decorations are single-use and end up discarded before the New Year. So we wanted to share some ways you can decorate for the holidays that don't add to our landfills!
Instead of using disposable dishes and cutlery, use your existing set of dishes. Or if you're hosting a large event, consider renting a set of dishes to avoid the extra waste.
Resist the urge to buy new decorations every year unless it's a timeless piece that you'll use for decades to come.
Secondhand decorations are an excellent and more affordable alternative when it comes to buying new decor. Check out online marketplaces like Kijiji or Craig's List or visit your neighbourhood thrift shop to see what holiday treasures you can repurpose!
If you like celebrating Christmas with a tree, try purchasing a potted tree! Once the holidays come to an end, you can plant it outdoor, allowing it to grow once more and help remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere! Or if you choose to buy a live tree, make sure to compost it after! Many local compost or recycling facilities will pick up Christmas trees after the holidays! On the other hand, if you choose to buy an artificial tree, we hope that you continue to use it for years to come!