After the holidays it’s important to have a plan to deal with all that packaging and waste that collects from gift giving and social gatherings. Hopefully some of our tips over the past few weeks have helped prepare you. Here is a review!

  • Reduce the amount of items that you buy.
  • Look for sustainable gifts.
  • Consider the amount of packaging in the products you purchase.
  • Avoid glossy or foil gift wrap that cannot be recycled or choose DIY wrapping ideas like newsprint etc.
  • Purchase reusable gift bags instead of holiday wrapping paper.

Christmas wrapping and cards

When Christmas is over the first thing that needs dealing with is the wrapping paper and packaging. Some paper is recyclable, but not all. Wrapping paper is not recyclable because if it is dyed, laminated or contains non-paper additives like glitter and plastics. The automated recycling plant also cannot separate recyclable kinds of paper like tissue paper from the wrapping paper, so it should not go into your recycling bin either. Unfortunately if this is how you chose to wrap your gifts, it all goes straight into the landfill. Consider wrapping in news paper or use reusable gift bags and recyclable wrapping where possible.

So what about those holiday cards? Most are recyclable, but why not put them to use at least once more before they hit the recycle bin. Christmas cards are great for kids crafts. You could tear them in half and use the back sides as scrap paper. Better yet, why not cut them up and save the Christmas specific portions to make gift tags that can be used for next Christmas.

For more information on recycling go to the City of Winnipeg.

Electronics are a popular gift item during the holidays – TVs, laptops, monitors, keyboards, speakers, radios, DVD players, the list goes on. The Manitoba Electronic Products Recycling Association notes that technology products are among the most common items purchased on Boxing Day/Week Sales. So what to do with the unwanted stuff? Read our blog on recycling electronics.

Holiday bargain hunting

Heading out for any of those post holiday bargains? Keep in mind that a great deal is only a great deal if you really need it. Why not just relax, enjoy time with family and friends and avoid the crowds.

Oh Christmas tree, oh christmas tree

As the holiday season comes to a close, its time to take down the tree. Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to cut it up and put it in your bin; recycle it. The City of Winnipeg is operating their “Lets Chip In” program until January 20. You can drop off your tree and they will chip it into a wood mulch that can be used for landscaping. The wood mulch is free, so bring a container with you and take some home. It’s great for landscaping around coniferous shrubs and trees and will help to prevent weed growth too! The tree needs to be as bare as it was when you got it, so remove all the decorations/tinsel and take your plastic bag back home so you can use it again next year. For more information, click this link.

Don’t want it, don’t need it?

Then there are those gifts that you just can’t take back, but won’t really use. And how about that new item you received that now makes the one you have obsolete. What can we do with all these items? Here are a few ideas:

Donate it

There are lots of organizations where you can donate unwanted toys, clothing, electronics, etc. Donating allows you to support a community or charitable organization and feel good about the fact that your gift will benefit someone else. Some of these organizations will even pick up the items from your home. Here are some options:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – (204) 988-9200
  • Salvation Army – (204) 953-1500 – More information
  • Canadian Diabetes – (204) 949-9163 – More information
  • The Main Street Project – (204) 982-8245
  • Siloam Mission – 204.956.4344 – More information

You can also check with your local Lions Club, church group, or Rotary Club to see if they have a rummage or other type of sale coming up.

Have a gift exchange

Have a gift swap party with friends and family: You may not like that sweater that Aunt Mable gave you, but someone else might just love it. As the old saying goes, one person’s garbage is another’s treasure. It is also a great way to get together with all those friends that you did not see over the holidays.

Re-Gifting: the gift that keeps on giving!

There are a few recommendations that go with re-gifting:
  • Don’t re-gift an item to someone you know would not enjoy the gift. This is just passing the buck!
  • Don’t re-gift within the same community of people. You don’t want the “regift” to make its way back to the person who originally gave it to you.
  • Regifts should be “new.” If you have used it, it is yours. If you don’t need or want it after using it, donate it.

Planning for next year

Now that you have dealt with this year’s waste, why not start planning for next year. Why not consider a “Reducing” and “Reusing” theme for 2013 instead of just recycling. We have lots of great ideas on how you can can green your Christmas. Check out Green Action Centre’s 10 ways to green the holiday season, sustainable gift ideas, of Christmas isn’t found in the mall for more great ideas. Bookmark these pages for reference next year.