The holiday season usually brings lot of happiness – and waste. Did you know on average:
- Americans throw away 25% more garbage from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, resulting in 1 million EXTRA tons of waste during those few months?
- Canadians EACH add 100 lbs. of garbage to landfills after shopping, decorating, unwrapping and eating over the holidays?
- Australians spend over $1 billion on unwanted gifts that will eventually end up in landfill, contributing to the 30% increase in rubbish volumes?
So, let’s work together to reduce that, starting with some very relevant and useful tips for your residents.
You can provide these tips through your website, social media posts, or real-time notifications sent directly to your residents’ smartphones via Recycle Coach.
These tips can even be part of a larger annual campaign – such as the Metro Vancouver, Canada’s “Create Memories Not Waste” campaign that started in 2010. Six years later, in 2016, it appears to be having a sustainable impact. "We've definitely seen a trend and it is measurable," said Stephanie McCardle, who is a policy coordinator at Metro Vancouver.
Here are the top 12 tips to provide residents for a greener holiday season:
- Wrap gifts with recyclable or reusable items: Instead of single use foil wrapping paper or gift bags, consider wrapping gifts in newspapers, reusable cloths (i.e. a scarf or dish towel), reusable tins (i.e. cookie tins) or brown recyclable paper bags.
- Save the ribbons, gift bags, and bows: You can reuse them in future Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, or for other occasions.
- Give the gift of experiences: Try gifting ‘virtual’ gifts instead of physical items that usually come with a lot of packaging (and waste). This can be as simple as movie passes, a promise to dinner at a nice restaurant, tickets to a sporting event or concert, or even a membership to some classes.
- Old Christmas cards can’t be recycled – but they CAN be reused and upcycled: Use them to make gift tags, bookmarks, coasters, keychains, Christmas tree ornaments, and more!
Here are some upcycled Christmas card ideas on Pinterest.
- Buy only the food you need: Reduce waste (both in terms of food and money) and plan your portions ahead of time. Stick to a food shopping list, freeze leftovers, make new food with leftovers, or give some away to your guests to take home.
- Donate, sell, or re-gift unwanted gifts: Sometimes you just don’t want – or need – a gift that’s been given to you. Before you toss that out,
- Unwrap your gift gently: Most gift wraps are glossy, so they are not recyclable. However, if you don’t tear the wrapping paper, you can save it and use it again for next year (plus, it saves you money!).
- Check for any holiday collection changes: Holidays can mean collection changes for waste and recycling, so make sure you check your schedules ahead of time. Recycle Coach allows you to set holiday collection reminders and view your schedules months in advance.
- Use reusable knives, forks, and spoons: It can be tempting to buy a pack of disposable cutlery and not have to worry about dishes; however, disposable cutlery in the landfill can take anywhere from 10 to 100 years to decompose. Not to mention that in the long run, reusable cutlery costs you much less per use than disposable ones.
- Ask for a wish list: It may lessen some of the ‘surprise’ factor in gift giving, but giving someone something they need or want means they’re more likely to keep and treasure it over the years, instead of throwing it out after a while because it’s been sitting in their closet untouched.
- Use reusable shopping bags on your shopping trips: Whether you’re out buying your Christmas dinner ingredients or shopping for presents – bring along your reusable bags and opt out of single use plastic bags (most of which end up in the trash right after).
- Send e-cards: They are customizable, fun, and can easily be sent to anywhere around the world in an instant (without the shipping costs either). Not to mention, they contribute to no waste.
You can find an infographic to download and share by clicking here.
What tips do you have that aren’t listed? Share them in the comments below.
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About Recycle Coach: Recycle Coach specializes in digital solutions for municipal and private waste management services to effectively educate and engage residents. Our technology platforms for web, mobile, and digital assistants focus on education and encouragement to help residents to be better recyclers, with the goal of inspiring positive and lasting change in communities around the world. It is our constant innovation and scalability of services that allow us to meet the needs of over 3000 communities across the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more.
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