Rethink Waste During The Holiday Season

The average Canadian household generates 25% more waste during the holiday season. Do your part this holiday season to help protect the environment by finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Check out our helpful guide of environmentally friendly ways to rethink waste during the holidays – and celebrate the season to the fullest.



Make memories, not waste! Gifts or activities you make yourself are always extra special. These types of gifts are meaningful, but also help reduce excess waste created during the holidays.



Here are some (super sustainable!) homemade and from-the-heart gifts or experiences you can give:

  • Consumables? Yes please. No one has ever said “A bottle of wine? I already have one of those.” Giving delicious cookies, chocolates, wine or spirits is a great way to ensure your gift gets used to the fullest.
  • Handmade and crafted treasures. From knitted clothing to crafted décor, handmade gifts from the heart will be cherished for years to come.
  • Gift an experience. Is there something you love doing together? Theatre tickets, a cooking course or movie passes – there really is something for everyone.
  • Make giving the gift. For someone who has everything, give a charitable donation in their name – two gifts in one!
  • Gift the wrap. Make the wrapping part of your gift! There are many creative options that can be used, from shirts, tea towels, aprons, scarves, tablecloths or a reusable bag.
  • Go Natural. Go for natural decorations like Yule logs, poinsettia plants, popcorn and cranberry garland and wreaths made of boughs. You can even go on the hunt and make your own decorations and centerpieces with sticks, branches, and berries foraged from around your garden or neighbourhood.
  • Let’s get digital. Send Christmas e-cards for instant greetings or digital invites for parties and get togethers.
  • Love local. Supporting local is one of the best ways to reduce waste. There’s lots of thoughtful and amazing gift ideas at your local craft fair or farmer’s market.


One of the easiest (and most creative) ways to reduce waste during the holidays is by finding ways to reuse your holiday trash. While many items like embellished holiday cards and gift bags cannot be recycled, they’re easily reused and made new with a little imagination!



Check out these tips and fun DIY holiday solutions that can help you reduce waste over the holidays:

  • Personalized gift tags. Reuse last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags.
  • Say no at the store. Reuse gift wrap, bags and store-bought gift boxes from previous years – easy on the tape!
  • DIY decorations. Try your hand at simple homemade decorations, like making a garland from fabric scraps or using last year’s Christmas cards.
  • Oh Tannenbaum. Homemade wreaths are a great way to keep your old artificial Christmas tree out of the landfill and will easily last for years.
  • Think ‘guests, not garbage’. Skip the single use cups, plates, and cutlery for parties and gatherings, and use cloth napkins, fabric tablecloths and runners. Borrow extra items from family or friends if necessary.
  • Reusable Shopping Bags. Don’t forget your reusable bag when shopping for gifts and other holiday supplies and skip single-use options offered at some stores.


Recycling is one of the easiest things we can do to protect the environment. It is important to know what can and cannot be recycled during the holiday season to ensure your waste ends up in the right place.



Your recycling knowledge can help you make informed choices when purchasing gifts and materials. Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Wrapping, reimagined. Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled and ends up in the garbage. If you need to wrap gifts, be kind to the environment and consider using brown paper or old newspaper, magazines or flyers which can all be recycled. These materials can be reused again or recycled through curbside recycling programs or at some waste management facilities.
  • Give your tree new life. Many municipalities offer a mulching or composting program for real trees, or you can junk it up for firewood.
  • Make it count. Collect and return your beverage containers accumulated over the holidays (including eggnog and nog-alternatives!) to your nearest Green Depot. Find yours here
  • Be mindful of packaging. When shopping for gifts, look for sustainable packaging that can be recycled. Bonus points if the item is made from recyclable materials!


“The best of the holidays comes from the wealth we create through relationships – to ourselves, to each other and to nature”

– David Suzuki

During the holidays, relax and focus on having fun and celebrating with those around you. It’s the season of joy and remember – it’s not the ‘stuff’ you’ll cherish down the road, it’s the moments and the memories with the ones you love. Happy Holidays!