Christmas is a time of giving, but often we end up giving more than we need, and the excess ends up in the garbage.
During the Christmas season a person can produce up to four times more garbage than during any other month. That translates to almost four kilograms per person per day.
Wrapping paper, packaging from gifts and many disposable items fall short of being recycled and end up in the local landfill.
The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Village of Pemberton are working together on programs for the 1999 year to assist residents in further reducing the amount of garbage they produce. The effort is part of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks’ mandate from 1990 to reduce solid waste by 50 per cent by the year 2000. That translates to every resident in the SLRD cutting what garbage they produce in half.
Christmas is a busy season and it’s difficult to think of anything more than getting gifts knocked off your shopping list. But give the environment a gift this year and think about reducing on what ends up in our local landfill.
"There are many ways to have a wonderful waste-free Christmas, starting with the gifts you buy," says Helene Taylor, waste reduction co-ordinator for the SLRD.
It’s difficult to resist children’s pleas to for all the newest toys advertised on TV, but ask yourself, is it sturdy? Many toys have a short life-span and end up broken and tossed. Although they often cost a little more, think quality of a product over quantity. It will save money and garbage in the long run.
Children love to rip open their gifts Christmas morning so it’s hard to resist wrapping their presents in new paper. But you can save money and still keep it interesting through creatively wrapping gifts in reusable items around the house. Use old comic books, clothing, paper bags coloured and decorated. It can be a great holiday activity for the children to create their own wrapping design for the gifts they give to mom, dad and siblings. It also cuts the cost of purchasing one-time wrapping paper and reduces the amount of material going into the garbage.
Having a party this year? Consider renting your cutlery, glasses and dishes. Most rental centres will deliver and pick up at a very minimal cost, and better yet, they wash them! Time is money and you will reduce on clean up costs while minimizing on disposable items if you rent.
If you are having trouble finding the perfect gift for someone consider providing them with a gift certificate for something they love to do, such as a golf, ski or board lesson, a facial or a day at the movies. Most retail and service places now provide this opportunity to their customers. Also, a home-made gift certificate for a special day with you is creative and more economical.
10 ways to reduce garbage this Christmas
Buy sturdy, durable gifts
Wrap Gifts with reusable materials
Buy gift certificates
Rent reusable dishes for parties
Buy reusable gifts (like portable coffee mugs)
Buy gifts that don’t need batteries
Decorate the tree with home-made decorations
Bake your gifts (send cookies or canned goods)
Purchase a membership for someone (to a gym, non-profit group)
Give them a memory (take them to lunch, local event, a picnic)