Apart from holidays, there are many other reasons to host a celebration. Whenever gifts are given, give some thought to the long-term environmental impact.
Only buy what you need and look for items with less packaging for the groceries. Also, bring your own reusable bags while shopping to reduce the use of plastic bags.
When having people over plan ahead and don’t cook extra. If you plan on cooking lots of leftovers have your guests bring reusable containers so you can send some of it home with them. If you plan on keeping all the leftovers for yourself, eat all the stocked-up food in your freezer that way you’ll have room for all the new delicious leftovers. With guests coming over there is bound to be some waste produced. Set aside clearly labeled recycling bins so that way guests know where their garbage and recycling go.
While serving the home cooked meals use reusable dishes instead of disposable ones. Cloth napkins are a great alternative to paper ones and can be tossed into the washing machine at the end of the night. Same goes for paper table covers, use the tablecloth and save yourself the hassle of cleaning up the mess from dinner in a sustainable way.
When sending invitations opt for the least amount of waste possible, send e-cards instead of paper, or if you do send cards out use those made from recycled content.
Give experiences – memories last and will never be thrown away. Think about ways you can gift experiences, perhaps with gift cards from the local spa, theatre, restaurants, or ski hills. What hobbies or interests do your friends or family enjoy and is there a way you can help them explore those further? Most local services offer gift cards or certificates, so you can really match the right experience to everyone on your list.
Gifts that last – avoid fads or items with short lifespans. We have all seen that cute toy for $5, but we know it will not last or hold up to robust play. And that kitchen gadget that does only one job and nothing else. Even if it’s not much money, there’s a cost if these items are used little and then find their way to landfill. Think more about items of good quality that last, and don’t require batteries. Support local artisans and purchase durable handmade gifts. Think about classic toys that can be passed on to cousins or a new generation, or you can purchase indoor or outdoor plants for a living gift.
Skip buying new and reuse old ornaments or make them yourself with friends and family. Instead of buying Christmas ornaments, try going natural. Large pinecones make for great dinner table and side accents. If you flatten and dry large leaves beforehand, they look wonderful on the wall later mixed in with sparkling lights.
Many people like the smell of a fresh tree in the house during the holidays, instead of cutting down a live tree get a potted tree and then plant it in the spring.
If you are sick of your old decorations, try swapping with a friend to spice up your tree, or wander second hand stores such as Value Village, Hospice Resale Shop and the Salvation Army Thrift Store for hidden treasures from past holidays.
When upgrading to new decorations such as lights, make sure to recycle them at the correct facilities. For more information on where to recycle lights check out LightRecycle, one of British Columbia’s product stewards. For more information on Product Stewardship click here.
After your celebration – tips for disposal
When recycling make sure to separate your recyclables from your garbage to make disposal easier. Take the separated recyclables, paper, cardboard and non-foil wrapping paper to a local recycling facility or fill your curbside blue bins.
Instead of throwing away food scraps you can compost it in the back yard composter. However, due to wildlife concerns we do not allow food scraps at our composting facilities. For the accepted list of materials for composting allowed at our facilities, click here. Christmas trees can be dropped off free of charge at a variety of our facilities, please remove decorations, lights and tree stands.
Use the recycling search feature to help find drop-off locations and recycling options for over 70 materials or products. Visit our Recycling page.