Winter is upon us once again and that brings the festive season. With the holiday spirit abound our consumption habits also increases. In that spirit, here are some suggestions that we present to you to keep holiday waste a minimum this season.
Give experiences instead of things and make new memories
The holidays are about spending time with the people who matter. Instead of a trinket, knick-knack, or sweater, think of an experience to enjoy together: tickets to theatre, sports, or music event; a night out to a restaurant; or a day at a spa.
Re-gifting is just another word for reuse
Received a gift you don’t want or need (or like)? Someone else may just want, need (or like) that item! Instead of buying new just reuse the gift for someone else.
Host a gift swap
After the holidays why not host a holiday gift swap party with friends, family, or colleagues.
Ditch specialty wrapping and get creative
Make your gift even more original by wrapping it with a little flair. Try using magazine pages, newsprint, old calendars, or comics pages. If a gift already comes in a nice box or bag there’s also no need to add more wrapping. You can also try the art of furoshiki (cloth) wrapping. Or attach Christmas cards from years past on the product’s original packaging. (If you do buy wrapping paper do avoid the shiny metallic or glossy types, as it cannot be recycled.)
Encourage waste reduction
Have a special someone that generates a lot of waste? Why not encourage sustainability with some neat items: beeswax food wrappers, reusable mugs or containers, bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws, and reusable shopping bags.
Don’t forget your own shopping bag
More than one billion single-use plastic bags are handed out in Canada every year. Most of these are handed out during the holiday season, so always make sure you bring a reusable bag with you when doing your holiday shopping. Not to mention the big guy with the big beard carries the same bag for all the gifts every year.
Make your own gifts
Same box and wrapping: different present
Put gifts in a shoebox or other appropriately sized vessel and wrap it as you normally would. Make the wrapping easy to disassemble, and reuse the box and wrapping paper for next year.
If grandparents still want a hand-written note and don’t have email… considers using cards printed with soy- or water-based ink and printed on post-consumer recycled paper.
Who doesn’t love doing Christmas crafts? Get together with friends or make a day of it with kids to get creative and make your own ornaments, decorations, cards, and wrapping paper. There’s lots of cool ideas using recycled or upcycled material: recycled giftwrap garland, gift bags from old maps and books, upcycled sweater ornaments, or an upcycled sweater wreath. Check out Waste Reduction Week in Canada’s Holiday Pinterest board for more ideas!
Keep it real
Choose real poinsettias, Christmas trees, wreaths, and arrangements for decoration instead of artificial plastic ones. Once the holidays are over everything can be composted. Bonus holiday tip: go outside and find fallen pinecones, evergreen branches, and twigs to make wreathes and centrepieces. You can mix a fragrant potpourri by filling a jar with dried stems or fallen needles, as well as citrus rind and other fragrant spices.