Canadians will send 100,000 elephants worth of wrapping paper to the dump this year and Christmas presents are a big culprit.
Zero Waste Canada, a Vancouver-based advocacy group, estimates each Canadian tosses about 50 kilograms of garbage over the holidays, 25 per cent more than the rest of the year, thanks to the purchase of 3,000 tonnes of foil, 2.6 billion Christmas cards and six millions rolls of tape.
Altogether, 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper and gift bags are thrown out each year.
Gift bags, tape and ribbon can’t be recycled. Some cities, like Toronto, will recycle plain paper gift wrap but anything with glitter or velvet or foil on it has to be plucked out.
City of Winnipeg Waste Diversion Supervisor Mark Kinsley says Winnipeg doesn’t accept any wrapping paper at all for recycling. Aside from the confusion it sows in residents who don’t know what is or isn’t safe to put in the blue bin, Kinsley says the dyes used on wrapping paper are too intense.
“It’s too inefficient and cost prohibitive to take the ink out,” said Kinsley.