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This article is provided to you by the Cathedral Climate Action Through Stewarding Ministry (CCATS)

There is far too much waste generated during the holiday season, i.e., gift wrap and tags, ribbons, bags, Christmas cards. As well, millions of rolls of scotch tape will be used to wrap gifts. During the holiday season Zero Waste Canada says that gift wrap and shopping bags contribute 545,000 tonnes of waste each year. Hard to imagine; and this is just over the holiday

Uneaten food is also a major contributor to unnecessary waste during the holiday season. All the left-overs that go uneaten head straight into the compost or worse yet, the garbage bin, (gasp)!

Let’s try something different this year and pledge to go green by cutting back on holiday waste. Even better, try to make this a new holiday tradition. There are many changes we can make as we aim for a goal of less holiday waste. Reduce, reuse, recycle is a great mantra to keep in mind for the season (and year-round).

Helpful Hints:

  • Avoid foil or plastic-based gift wrap as they can not be recycled.
  • Unwrap paper carefully and reuse each year.
  • Use cloth, previously read newspaper and magazines, or brown bags to wrap gifts.
    Comics from newspapers add a touch of whimsy. Use yarn, string, or any natural
    materials, instead of ribbons.
  • Reuse envelopes among family members by not writing names on them; just hand them
    their card.
  • Buy local instead of ordering online and save on gas emissions.
  • Instead of buying gifts, try giving the gift of love. Set up dates to spend time with family,
    friends, and loved ones. Enjoy a meal together, have a games night, go for a walk.
    Take them to a movie or the theatre. For many people the gift of your time is priceless.
  • Give homemade gifts. These could be anything – canned jams or vegetables, knitted or
    sewn items, arts and crafts, baked or cooked food, etc.
  • Give left-over food to family, friends or a neighbour. Maybe you know someone who is
    alone over the holidays. Knowing that someone is thinking of them would certainly help
    make their Christmas a little less lonely.
  • Donate to a charity in the person’s name instead of buying a gift.

Are you willing to pledge to reduce your holiday waste this season?

Take the low waste holiday pledge (and additional resources) – Greenpeace Canada
Zero Waste Christmas – from Zero Waste Canada