‘Tis the season for gifts, lights, trees, and delicious dinners. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus this holiday season, the Recycling Council of BC (RCBC) has come up with ideas to turn your celebration green and make both Santa Claus and Mother Nature happy.
“You can still celebrate in style over the holidays, but it takes a little planning, so start early,” says Brock Macdonald, RCBC’s chief executive officer. “We’re asking British Columbians to rethink how they celebrate, and explore some new, greener traditions.”
Among Macdonald’s suggestions are opting for personal gift certificates for canning, cooking, babysitting, a car wash, or a doggie bath: these come with the added bonus of giving the gift of time. Giving experiences as gifts is another great option; instead of a cookbook, give a certificate for a cooking class or a foodie tour.
He also suggests switching to LED light strings, which use 90 per cent less energy than incandescent lights, without the fire risk. Another simple choice is wrapping gifts in reusable or cloth gift bags that you can repurpose as shopping or lunch bags; skip the cellophane and metallic foil wraps, since they end up in the landfill.
To avoid disposable plastics, use reusable cutlery and tableware for Christmas dinner. Don’t have enough place settings? Borrow from your neighbours or guests! And opt for zero waste décor by bringing nature inside. Cedar and pine tree branches, acorns, and potted plants can bring colour and life into a room; they are compostable at the end of their use, so no branch or leaf has to go to waste.
“Canadians already understand the importance of a healthy environment, but sometimes we forget that our everyday actions add to the impact,” says Macdonald. “Small changes add up to big results. If everyone in Canada wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or reusable gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.”
RCBC wants to inspire British Columbians to reduce waste in their own creative and successful ways. For example, have you ever wondered what is better: a live Christmas tree that you use once, or a plastic tree that can be reused over several years? Did you know that excess tape can make wrapping paper unrecyclable? Do you have burnt out Christmas light strings taking up space? Find a depot where you can drop them off for free.
For more ideas, follow RCBC’s social media campaign for holiday waste reduction tips at www.twitter.com/recyclingbc. All are welcome to get tips and ideas on reducing their holiday waste at RCBC’s website (http://www.rcbc.ca/holiday-info) or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RecyclingBC).
RCBC is Canada’s oldest recycling council, working to facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge that enable efficient solutions to eliminate waste.