It’s the middle of December. If you’re like me, you’ve been running around all month shop-hopping, searching for deals, securing last-minute shipping online, and trying to make it to all of my friends’ and work holiday parties.
I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. The time between Christmas and New Year’s is what I really look forward to. This is the time where we can all catch our breath, put our feet up and finally rest, but every year, this is the time where it reality usually hits me: the bag of garbage I’ve accumulated in the past few days is bigger than I am.
According to the non-profit organization, Zero Waste Canada, Canadians will produce 110 pounds of garbage per person this holiday season while the average Canadian family will send up to 45 per cent more waste to the landfill than they have all year.
Though almost everything around the holidays is born from a thoughtful place, this is a byproduct we need to address while indulging our holiday traditions. Canadian municipalities run successful holiday programs that are easy to understand and use, yet a lot of elaborate packaging and processes are making waste management and recycling a lot more tedious for us all.
That’s why we at TAMGA Designs want to offer you three main tips to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose this holiday season.
Wrapping Paper and Packaging
The experience of unwrapping a gift has become so commonplace in our holiday traditions, and gifts might feel naked or incomplete without it. This tradition, however, comes at a price. Metallic wrapping papers and foils are not recyclable, and neither are most brands of tape. as well as most types of tape are all not recyclable. All other papers are recyclable, but usually take up a lot of time, space and resources at landfills.
Yes, gift-wrapping is a holiday tradition but the truth is, it can be time-consuming, an extra expense, and simply unnecessary. If it is necessary, try wrapping it in a reusable tote bag or newspaper. Avoid crunching up and tearing this year’s paper to save it for next year and keep all your wrapping extras like ribbon, gift bags, and boxes. Although recycling is still a better alternative than plain waste, it’s not going to solve our over-consumption problem alone. Each recyclable item needs to be produced using valuable resources.
"Canadians will produce 110 pounds of garbage per person this holiday season while the average Canadian family will send up to 45 per cent more waste to the landfill than they have all year"
An elaborate Christmas tree in the living room is possibly the longest standing tradition for a lot of western cultures. There is large ongoing debate over whether or not a natural or artificial tree is better for the environment but the recent consensus has shifted toward real trees being more eco-friendly.
It might be hard for some to detach from such a long standing custom, but perhaps you should ask yourself this season if you really need one. Is there any way you can create a recycled or repurposed tree with items you already have? If not, find ways to recycle, repurpose and reuse your tree. If do you choose to purchase or chop down a natural tree, there are several ways keep it out of the garbage. Try cutting the trunk into slices to use them as coasters, or make small sanded blocks for kids. That way, one of the most precious gifts from the land can provide us with joy living long after the holiday season.
Lots of us feel guilty leaving holiday shopping to the last minute. In a panic, people head to department stores and shopping centres to get everyone the same tea towel and box of chocolates. Unsustainable business practices, unethical production, let alone the wasteful packaging are anything but merry.
Do twice the good this holiday season by looking into the businesses that you’re supporting. A quick Internet search will tell you which businesses near you or online are creating goods with more sustainable materials and methods, not to mention that one-of-a-kind feeling you can’t find anywhere under department fluorescents.
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