The holiday season brings with it a lot of excitement. For many of us it’s a time for family gatherings, food, and gift giving. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza or just enjoy the time spent with family and friends, it can be a very busy time of year.
The last thing you want to worry about is waste collection day, right?
Unfortunately, the holiday season does bring with it a lot of waste. It’s almost unavoidable. Gift wrap, packaging, cardboard, and the dinner left overs! Trust me I do my best to finish everything, but one man can only eat so many turkey sandwiches. Inevitably, the build up in my GreenCart and Blue Box and garbage is extreme.
Here are some tips I’ve come up with for a “waste-less” holiday.
Try waste-less gifts. Tickets to plays, movies, sporting events are always popular, and the best part is you can put them in a card with almost no waste at all! Mom, if you’re reading this, electronics store gift certificates for me please! Speaking from experience, parents always appreciate the offer of babysitting for a night out. Or for the person who has everything, a donation to a charity or environmental group in their name is appreciated.
If you do give a gift larger than a credit card, put it in a reusable gift bag. Keep the bags, store them, and reuse them next year. This will save you money and time since you won’t need to wrap anything. Wrapping paper cannot be recycled in the Blue Box as it is low quality paper and often contain dyes or foil which contaminate other paper when processed. If you do have wrapping paper, place it in the garbage.
Look for gifts made from recycled materials. Try to purchase gifts that come in minimal packaging. Avoid disposable plates and cutlery. If you do insist on disposable, choose paper plates over plastic or Styrofoam since the paper plates can go in the GreenCart. Styrofoam and plastic plates are not accepted in the Blue Box, and will have to be placed in the garbage.
Oh Christmas tree! Yeah that’s right. I still buy real! Really, there’s nothing like the smell of pine needles in the morning — or the pain of stepping on them in your bare feet. It’s the whole Christmas experience really. Remember to check your Christmas tree collection schedule before placing the tree at the curb and remove any plastic wrap or ornaments. Christmas trees in Halton are composted into mulch. And please, if it snows the night of your pick up, keep the tree visible. Collection crews will do their best, but they don’t have X-ray vision.
Happy holidays everyone! I’m off to have another turkey sandwich.