Tips on how to make the holidays eco-friendly this year

Shopping local and giving gifts that don't go to waste are among tips to help you make the holidays eco-friendly.


This is the season to be jolly. It’s also a time of excess and waste. According to Zero Waste Canada, each of us will toss about 50 kilograms of garbage over the holiday period (mid-November to mid-January). That’s 25 per cent more than the rest of the year.

Here are some ways you can reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill this holiday season.

Shop local and up your walk score and lower your carbon footprint. If you need something that is not available locally, driving to the local mall is better for the environment than online shopping, especially if you use rush delivery when in order to meet the deadline, emptier trucks are delivering to fewer customers who are farther apart. So shop the eco-friendly way and at the same time make an investment in our community.

Give gifts that never go to waste like a certificate to a local spa or hair salon or pay for a gym membership. How about movie tickets or tickets to Jack and the BeansTalk the pantomime playing at the local Royal Canadian Legion on Coxwell Avenue, Dec. 20 to 29?

Shovel a senior’s sidewalk or babysit for a single mum – they really need a break!

Help vulnerable families in Canada and around the world. Make a donation to Habitat for Humanity’s Indigenous Housing Partnership program [] or buy a goat or a rooster or give toward clean water or education.  Check out World Vision or UNICEF online gift catalogues.

Give home-baked cookies, now there’s something that will definitely not go to the landfill.

Go glitterless when you wrap because that glittery, glossy and metallic paper is made of plastic, waxes or glue and cannot be recycled.   Reuse last year`s wrap, bows and ribbons.  Be creative, wrap your kids’ presents in old comics, their art work from years ago or use Kraft paper and do your own art work. And we’d be happy for you to reuse your Beach Metro as gift wrap!

Wrap your gift in a gift; a tea towel from Pippins Tea Shop or a T-shirt or tote bag printed with local street names from Collected Joy. Or don`t wrap at all, have a Santa scavenger hunt and hide your presents around the house.

Get real with your tree. Natural trees produce fewer carbon emissions including production and transportation.  During their growth stages trees provide habitat, support wildlife and improve air quality.  When the holidays are over, the tree can go out to the curb for the City to collect and make into compost.  Always remove the tinsel and other ornaments and do not wrap it in plastic.

 It takes between eight and 20 Christmases for an artificial tree to have less of an environmental impact than a real tree. Fake trees are made from plastic and metal which take a lot of energy to produce and they can’t be recycled.

Be a trendy decorator and forget the shiny plastic baubles. Go rustic, decorate with pine cones, plants, branches, sticks and stones; or vintage, shop thrift stores for decorations or see what you can find at grandma’s house.  Be a minimalist, less is more.  Buy fewer decorations but make them special and use them year-after -year.

Watch your waistline.   There’s usually too much food at holiday gatherings, don’t waist or waste it. Send your guests home with leftovers or try a new recipe and spice things up for the next day.  Take unopened packages of cookies, candies and other goodies to a local shelter.  []

Recycle right, make sure what you can’t reduce or reuse goes in the right bin. If you`re not sure, check the City`s Waste Wizard at


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