How You Can Reduce and Re-Use During the Holidays

Every year during the holidays, our homes generally have an increase in leftover packaging and paper from gifts, meals with loved ones, or decorations to make our homes festive and bright. Most of this material can be set out on your recycling collection day, or returned to a depot, and our Holiday Recycling Guide is a handy tool to help you sort that out. Recycling, however, is just one of the ways we can reduce our impact during the holidays – there is also ample opportunity to re-use.

Thoughtful Gift Wrap

Raise your hand if you’ve ever received a gift wrapped in newspaper! That may be a tried-and-true alternative to store-bought gift wrap but there are many more options out there. Actually, there are many options available right in your own home!

Think fabric, paper shopping bags or children’s art or colouring pages. You can also make the wrapping part of the gift – tea towel, storage box, reusable food wrap, or plant pot wrapping, anyone?

We’re also very inspired by Metro Vancouver’s Wrap Wise list that features some very creative ideas including calendars, old maps, and fabrics. They even have tips on how to wrap gifts without using tape! Of course, the easiest method on their list is to simply not wrap it at all.

Making Glass Bottles and Jars Work

glass jar with pine needles, cranberries and small candle arrange inside click for image source article

Recently, we temporarily suspended collection of glass bottles and jars due to flood conditions which meant residents across BC stored their material at home. A common re-use case for glass bottles and jars is storage for a variety of things: food, craft supplies, loose change, to name a few. However, these containers are much more versatile.

There are some great, low-cost ideas that use glass jars to make a thoughtful gift for neighbours or co-workers during the holidays. Or, you can use your leftover bottles and jars for some homemade decorations to add some sparkle around the house.

image source

Plastic Bags Come in Handy

Besides using leftover plastic bags instead of buying new trash bags, they also come in handy when collecting and sorting depot-only material during your holiday clean up. Check out Recycle BC’s top plastic bag tips.

Recycle BC branded illustration of three options for plastic bag re use including as a bag, as trash bag, or recycle at depot

Create Memories, Not Garbage

Metro Vancouver’s Merry Memory Maker is a fantastic tool for planning gifts that reduce your environmental impact. The tool lets you set a budget and select either Experiences or Things, and then shows a list of activities or useful items. While the tool is primarily focused on Metro Vancouver, many of their suggestions – like taking a wintery hike, bird watching, or taking a friend for coffee – can be done anywhere in BC.

Metro Vancouver Merry Memory Maker calculator image

While this is a season of giving, it doesn’t necessarily mean material things. Giving your time and effort to reducing and re-using material, like in these tips, has a greater impact – and when reducing or re-using aren’t viable options, you can recycle. Bookmark our Holiday Recycling Guide, or use the Recycle BC app to stay on top of what goes where.

Happy Holidays from the Recycle BC Team!