Holiday Green Guide

This winter season, go green!

Did you know…

  • on average people generate 25% more trash during the holiday season.
  • approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year.
  • LED lights use 80% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights, can last up to 10 times longer.

With some creative thinking, you can still celebrate the spirit but avoid an aftermath of trash.  Here are some grinch-free Zero Waste holiday ideas to help get you started.

Local Recycling Options:

  • Paper gift wrap and paper gift bags can be recycled curbside or at the depot -> REMOVE tape, bows, strings or any other non-paper decor first. Avoid non-accepted foil wrap.
  • Styrofoam (white or coloured) can be recycled at depots only. Packing peanuts and stryofoam type sheets are NOT ACCEPTED.  Free
  • Christmas trees -> look for the Special Olympics tree chipping fundraiser to recycle your tree.  The tree-cycling fundraiser event usually takes place during the first week or second week of January in the parking lot beside Mother Nature.  By donation
  • Burnt out Christmas lights?  Take strings of lights to Augusta Recyclers and place in the bin beside the recycling depot.  This bin is not always labelled but contains electrical wires, strings of lights and is apart of the LIGHT RECYCLE program.  Free
  • Dead batteries? Recycle them at any of the Regional District recycling depots, Rona, or Canadian Tire. Free
  • Check out the Waste Wise guide for a comprehensive list of local recycling options.

Aim to reduce & reuse first if you can, both your recycling and trash bins will thank you!


Alternative Trees:

  • Decorate a houseplant
  • Buy a live tree that can be potted for the holidays and planted in the spring
  • Create a true west coast holiday tree from driftwood!
  • Decorate a tree in your yard
  • Save space with a wall tree

Waste-free Parties:

  • Serve food on reusable dishware
  • Avoid streamers, balloons and other decorations designed for one-time use
  • Create centerpieces from what you have, like pottery pieces, glass ornament balls, fresh  fruit, pine cones, squash, gourds and fallen leaves
  • Choose potted plants to provide a year-round green
  • Plan your dinner party menu to include seasonal, organic, local food 
  • Use LED holiday lights
  • Check out our Zero Waste Guide for Event Planners for more ideas

Holiday Card Ideas:

  • Send E-cardscards
  • Cut up old cards to use for gift tags
  • Look for cards that can easily be recycle (without embellishments like foil or ribbon)
  • Get crafty and make your own (there’s many downloadable templates online)
  • Look for cards that are made from post consumer recycled paper

Alternative Gift Wrap Ideas:


  • Old maps
  • Comic pages from newspapers
  • Decorated paper bags
  • Old scraps of fabric sewn into a gifts bag (Bonus: Reusable!)
  • Old calendars
  • Furoshiki (Japanese fabric folding art for  gifts).  Link has great visuals.
  • Cereal box gift boxes
  • Your child’s art
  • Sheet music
  • Give a gift in a gift; use a tea towel or scarf as a gift to wrap your gift
  • Wallpaper samples
  • Reuse the mandarin orange tissue paper and box

Gift Ideas:


  • Make something yourself (cookies, jam, a scarf, a wooden toy…)
  • Shop locally (Local art shops and the Winter Market are great places to find locally made treasures)
  • Choose products with minimal packaging
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Think outside the box & gift experiences (Gift cards are available for our local restaurants, movie theater, recreation complex or a fitness class)
  • Make a donation to an organization on behalf of a loved one.
  • Gift your time  (Dog walking, babysitting, snowshoveling…)
  • Gift your talent (Computer Skills, Cooking lesson, Guitar lessons…)
  • Re-gift something
  • Gift something to promote zero waste (A water bottle, a travel mug, a reusable to go container, reusable shopping bags…)

Holiday Baking Ideas:

  • Buy your baking supplies in bulk to cut down on the amount of packaging you’ll be bringing home.  Better yet, take in your containers to Ecossentials, fill them up and avoid packaging altogether
  • Bake for your alternative dieted friends (gluten free, dairy free, organic, nut free…).
  • Fill a mason jar with the dry ingredients for a favorite recipe


Food Scraps:

Holiday festivities can lead to a feast of leftovers!  Hopefully this leads to a few lazy lunches, but what to do with the bones and food scraps? Take your food scraps and food soiled paper to the Town Centre Recycling depot (located in the parking lot next to Rona) Mon-Sat 8:00 am-5:30 pm. Yard waste can be brought to Sunshine Disposal at 4474 Franklin Ave on Wed & Sat 10am – 4pm.  For a list of accepted items, check out our “What’s In / What’s Out” identification page that can also be downloaded.