Tips for an Environmentally-friendly Christmas Morning

If you have children like I do, Christmas morning can create a whole new dimension of waste!

Anyone who’s attempted to open (not to mention assemble) a child’s toy on Christmas morning knows that bleeding fingers and an engineering degree are prerequisites.

Avoid the mess of Christmas morning. Have your waste bins or bags ready to go! Unfortunately, wrapping paper goes in the Garbage.

Sharp plastic edges, steel ties, hard sealed plastic.  You’d think some packaging was designed for a trip to the moon and back.  Boxboard, cardboard, Styrofoam, plastic, the list goes on.  I can sympathize.  It’s hard to keep track of what goes where.

So here’s the quick run down for a smooth Christmas morning.  Follow these easy tips and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy that first Christmas afternoon eggnog.

When unwrapping gifts, establish a storage space for reusable materials, like gift bags and bows.  Label a storage bin and keep it handy so you can toss reusable items inside for next year.  Our family hasn’t had to buy new gift bags in years and we now have a supply for every occasion.  Just be careful to take last year’s name tags off.  Trust me — you don’t want Grandma Gertrude getting your wife’s new nightgown by mistake.  Awkward!

Of course there’s always those larger gifts that won’t fit in a gift bag.  If you’re lucky enough to get a new 80 inch TV for Christmas (I wish),  your very generous gift giver may feel the need to splurge and wrap it in paper.  Don’t put that wrapping paper in the Blue Box!  Wrapping paper cannot be recycled in the Blue Box because it often contains dyes that contaminate the other acceptable papers.  As well, some wrapping paper contains foil and plastic which cannot be recycled.  Instead place wrapping paper and tape in the garbage if you can’t reuse it.

All that Styrofoam packaging from your new TV should go in the garbage too.  The cardboard needs to be broken down and bundled into a more manageable size of 90 cm x 90 cm x 30 cm (3 ft x 3 ft x 1 ft) and then placed out next to your Blue Box for collection.  If it’s too big, the recycling truck won’t be able to fit it in.

Still with me?  Okay, good.  Here’s a thorough breakdown of stuff you might encounter Christmas morning and where it should go.

Items for Blue Box:

  • Cardboard boxes, boxboard (broken down and bundled)
  • Fine paper & envelopes (including those with plastic windows), cards
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic bottles
  • Aluminum cans, foil, trays

Items for GreenCart:

  • Cookies (leftover Santa snacks)
  • Carrots (leftover reindeer snacks)
  • Christmas pound cake (guaranteed to be leftover)
  • Any other food item
  • Paper napkins, facial tissues, paper plates and paper cups

Items for Garbage:

  • Clear moulded plastic packaging
  • Twist ties
  • Plastic film, tape
  • Bubble wrap (make sure kids get a chance to pop it first for fun!)
  • Plastic plates and cups
  • Wrapping paper (fold and reuse, if you can)
  • Bows, ribbons (store and reuse, if you can)
  • Styrofoam packaging

To make it easy, have a Blue Box, GreenCart and garbage bag ready to go on Christmas morning.

Oh one last very important tip!  Please check your waste collection schedule!  In Halton, we collect on Boxing Day Monday, therefore there is no delay to your household pick up the week following Christmas in 2011.

If you have any other Christmas morning tips please let me know.  I’d be happy to hear them and share them with others.

I’ll chat later, my eggnog is getting warm.

Happy holidays everyone!

About Ben Morris

Hi, I'm Ben. I have been working in Halton Region's Waste Management department for over 10 years. I am currently responsible for administering and supervising our waste collection, transfer, and processing contracts. I basically make sure your waste is collected each week. I have degree in Environmental Resource Science and a passion for the outdoors and spending time with my young family. I am always interested in hearing new and innovative ideas about waste management.
This entry was posted in Apartments, Blue Box, Compost, Education, Garbage, Green Living, GreenCart, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tips for an Environmentally-friendly Christmas Morning

  1. Pingback: Simplify and rejoice this holiday season! | HaltonParents

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