Less Waste, More Gain

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Published 19th December 2011, 4:3pm

Traditionally, the holidays are a time for exchanging gifts but this year, let's try giving more meaningfully, wasting less and lightening the load for Santa's clean up crew!

The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) is offering tips on how residents can reduce waste levels this festive season. Suggestions include:

  • Give homemade items, such as cookies, handcrafts, or framed photos.
  • Give entertainment, such as museum memberships; movie, theatre, concert, or sporting event tickets, or restaurant and store gift certificates.
  • Give learning, such as language or music lessons; classes in cooking, photography, or other hobbies.
  • Give time or talent, such as for baby-sitting, pet-sitting, computer assistance or home repairs.
  • Give fitness, such as gym memberships, personal training sessions, or classes in yoga, Pilates, or dance.
  • Give pampering, such as a massage, facial, manicure, or pedicure.
  • Give to the greater good by contributing to someone's favourite charity.

Other ways to reduce waste this holiday season may entail:

  • Using an artificial tree instead of a real one and reusing it for years. (But if you do buy a real one, avoid tinsel so the tree can be recycled in January.
  • Sending email greetings rather than paper cards to reduce paper waste.
  • Choosing reusable gift bags or creating gift wrap by using maps or comics. (But if you do buy gift wrap and greeting cards, ensure they're made from recycled paper).
  • Using durable plastic-ware designed for reuse. Use washable / reusable sponges, dishcloths, and napkins. (But if you do purchase new, choose disposable products made with recycled material).

Remember too that others may want items that you no longer need. Contact local charitable organizations that are interested in receiving your gently-used clothing, furniture, books, and electronics. Reach out to the Red Cross, the Humane Society, and the NCVO.

Or you can choose to donate unwanted Christmas gifts rather than return them. Check out your favorite charity or the Department of Children & Family Services.

Instead of exchanging gifts, business and office staff can also elect to donate toys and other items. Many families must cut back due to hard financial times, so your group can donate unwrapped toys for the annual gift drive.

For more information, contact the DEH at 949-6696 and meanwhile, the Department of Environmental Health wishes everyone a happy festive season.