December 4, 2019

Waste not, want not: Your guide to an eco-friendly holiday

With the holidays upon us, ‘tis the season to want, but not to waste. As you gather around the tree to gift the ones you love, trim down holiday excess with our eco-friendly guide to the holidays.

Why go waste-free?

  • Canadians produce up to 25% more waste over the holidays (that’s over 540,000 more tonnes of trash in our landfill and equivalent to 100,000 elephants!)
  • Within six months, only 1% of everything the average person buys is still in use while the other 99% is discarded.
  • During the holidays in Canada, we use six million rolls of tape, 3,000 tonnes of foil and 2.6 billion holiday cards to wrap presents each year.

1. Decorations

Skip plastic décor and step into nature’s backyard for a fun activity with the whole family.

  • Gather a basket of evergreen branches, twigs, berries and pinecones.
  • A natural, rustic décor connects you with your local neighborhood and can transform a space.
  • Light up your house with LED Christmas lights or use candles to add an extra twinkle.

photo credit: Jillian Ila Photography

2. Hosting

Be the host with the most eco-friendly party in town!

  • It’s oh-so-tempting to avoid the clean-up with plastic (which takes decades to decompose). Avoid waste with sustainable solutions­­ such as reusable or compostable plates, cutlery and cups.
  • Serve bite-sized finger foods to minimize dishware (plus, everything tastes better bite-sized)!
  • Opting to use lids and containers instead of covering food with plastic and aluminum will have a positive impact on the environment. Additionally, avoid serving single-serve beverages and straws.
  • While the weather outside may be frightful, your gathering will be delightful—turn down your thermostat and host a holiday sweater theme to keep your guests toasty.

photo credit: Jillian Ila Photography

3. Shopping

Lighten the load on Santa’s sleigh.

  • BYOB – Bring your own bag when you go holiday shopping and skip the plastic bags at the store!
  • While you may consider online shopping as a holiday solution to keep you off the roads, consider how far your purchases must travel to your doorstep and how much packaging will be wasted.
  • If you do shop online, ask companies to ship your packages using paper instead of polystyrene packing peanuts. If you do happen to receive Styrofoam packaging, take it to the City of Edmonton Reuse Centre.

4. Gifting

Give a gift that feels good and reduces unnecessary waste.

  • Give the gift of experiences instead of things and create memories with your loved ones with gift certificates to local museums, concerts, restaurants and theatres.
  • Purchase locally made products (flip through Gifted 2019/2020) with limited or zero packaging. Not only will you support local businesses, you’ll also reduce transportation costs and waste. We recommend Edmonton Made’s Taste of Edmonton or YEG Box.
  • Get crafty with your family and create DIY home-made gifts. The most meaningful gifts can be ones from the heart, created over an afternoon of family time. Try making re-usable beeswax wraps, soaps, bath bombs or home-made treats. Visit our recipes for banana cream pie or lavender sea salt cookies.
  • Make the gift wrap part of the present—use tea towels, fabric bags, blankets, scarves or towels. Re-use magazines, newspaper or calendars as a gift wrap alternative.
  • Last year’s holiday cards can be this year’s “to” and “from” labels.
  • Give the gardener in your life a potted green gift or fill a gardening pot with useful tools.
  • For the chef in your life, a mixing bowl or stockpot is an excellent package to fill with tasty treats.

From our family to yours, we hope you have a green, happy and healthy holiday. We look forward to celebrating a new year with you!

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