The festive spirit of the holiday season is often associated with food aplenty, gifts, family and friends. One of the big impacts of the holiday season that isn’t often considered is the amount of waste generated.
Zero Waste Canada, a Vancouver-based advocacy group, estimates that “each Canadian tosses about 50 kilograms of garbage over the holidays, 25 per cent more than the rest of the year, thanks to the purchase of 3,000 tonnes of foil, 2.6 billion Christmas cards and six million rolls of tape.” This can impact our local landfill here in Port Alberni – and waste management infrastructure beyond our community too.
There are many options for people looking for a meaningful way to stay connected and conscious of their waste over the Christmas season. With a little effort and imagination, we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season.
- As you bring out your Christmas lights and curse as half are no longer working, remember that non-working Christmas lights are recyclable. Bring the entire strand to 3rd Ave. depot. Save energy by putting them on a timer.
- Try to avoid shiny, glossy, or laminated gift wrap as it is not recyclable due to foil, heavy ink or glitter. The only wrapping paper that is accepted in the blue recycling bin is paper only. There are lots of alternatives when it comes to wrapping options. Wrap with low-waste materials: old calendars, old maps, newsprint, mason jars, tea towels, brown paper bags that are decorated, fabric, the possibilities are endless!
- Christmas is a great time to get rid of your gently-used items and donate to a family in need. Local charities put together shoebox programs, etc. and are happy to accept.
- Reduce shipping waste and support your community by checking out our local stores markets and artisans. Consider low-impact, no-packaging requirements.
- Consider gifting an experience rather than a material gift, such as a night out or tickets to a show
- Give knowledge – tickets to a lecture, a workshop, or an online magazine subscription
- Give rest – babysit for a busy parent, a housecleaner, or a weekend away
- Give a hand, like a charitable donation or a holiday basket for a family in need.
- Go natural – seeds, bulbs or plants for the garden or home.
- Look for gifts that help people reduce their waste footprint. Some ideas include reusable mugs or water bottles, stainless steel or silicone straws, beeswax wrappers, bamboo toothbrushes, safety razor with extra blades, or a living gift such as fruit tree, shrub, or houseplant.
- Post-Christmas cleanup: Check out local options for dealing with Christmas trees after Christmas. Annually the Multiplex has had a Christmas tree chipping event for a Kidsport fundraiser.
Visit our Facebook Page “Sort’nGo – ACRD Recycling and Organics” at facebook.com/ACRD.recycles which has weekly tips and updates for the valley. If you’re wanting to test your sorting skills, play the sorting game on the Sort’nGo ACRD app (on your phone or type in acrd.recycle.game into your browser window). If you’re a community group or a local business, you can contact the ACRD to arrange for an educational presentation for the upcoming service.