The holiday season usually brings lot of happiness – and waste.
Did you know on average:
- Americans throw away 25% more garbage from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, resulting in 1 million EXTRA tons of waste during those few months?
- Canadians EACH add 100 lbs. of garbage to landfills after shopping, decorating, unwrapping and eating over the holidays?
- Australians spend over $1 billion on unwanted gifts that will eventually end up in landfill, contributing to the 30% increase in rubbish volumes?
So, let’s work together to reduce that, starting with these useful tips:
- Wrap gifts with recyclable or reusable items: Instead of single use foil wrapping paper or gift bags, consider wrapping gifts in newspapers, reusable cloths (i.e. a scarf or dish towel), reusable tins (i.e. cookie tins) or brown recyclable paper bags.
- Save the ribbons, gift bags, and bows: You can reuse them in future Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, or for other occasions.
- Give the gift of experiences: Try gifting ‘virtual’ gifts instead of physical items that usually come with a lot of packaging (and waste). This can be as simple as movie passes, a promise to dinner at a nice restaurant, tickets to a sporting event or concert, or even a membership to some classes.
- Old Christmas cards can’t be recycled – but they CAN be reused and upcycled: Use them to make gift tags, bookmarks, coasters, keychains, Christmas tree ornaments, and more!
Here are some on Pinterest. upcycled Christmas card ideas
- Buy only the food you need: Reduce waste (both in terms of food and money) and plan your portions ahead of time. Stick to a food shopping list, freeze leftovers, make new food with leftovers, or give some away to your guests to take home.
- Donate, sell, or re-gift unwanted gifts: Sometimes you just don’t want – or need – a gift that’s been given to you. Before you toss that out.
- Unwrap your gift gently: Most gift wraps are glossy, so they are not recyclable. However, if you don’t tear the wrapping paper, you can save it and use it again for next year (plus, it saves you money!).
- Check for any holiday collection changes: Holidays can mean collection changes for waste and recycling, so make sure you check your schedules ahead of time. allows you to set holiday collection reminders and view your schedules months in advance. Recycle Coach
- Use reusable knives, forks, and spoons: It can be tempting to buy a pack of disposable cutlery and not have to worry about dishes; however, disposable cutlery in the landfill can take anywhere from 10 to 100 years to decompose. Not to mention that in the long run, reusable cutlery costs you much less per use than disposable ones.
- Ask for a wish list: It may lessen some of the ‘surprise’ factor in gift giving, but giving someone something they need or want means they’re more likely to keep and treasure it over the years, instead of throwing it out after a while because it’s been sitting in their closet untouched.
- Use reusable shopping bags on your shopping trips: Whether you’re out buying your Christmas dinner ingredients or shopping for presents – bring along your reusable bags and opt out of single use plastic bags (most of which end up in the trash right after).
- Send e-cards: They are customizable, fun, and can easily be sent to anywhere around the world in an instant (without the shipping costs either). Not to mention, they contribute to no waste.