white background with pine cone decorations with text reduce reuse recycle right this holiday season waste reduction tips from OVWRC logo
December 9, 2019 Uncategorized No Comments

white background with pine cone decorations with text reduce reuse recycle right this holiday season waste reduction tips from OVWRC logo

Preparation for the holiday season is well underway.  It is a time to bring together family and friends to celebrate, however it also means an increase in our recycling and garbage. Zero Waste Canada estimates that from mid-November to mid-January, the average Canadian generates about 25 per cent more trash than during the rest of the year. Here are a few tips to reduce waste and recycle right this holiday season:


Make the wrapping part of the gift.   Wrap a book in a scarf or a box of chocolates in a dish towel.

Whenever possible choose reusable over disposable.  If you must use disposable, choose paper products that can be composted.

When you can, give local or homemade gifts.  They often come in less packaging.   Even better – give an experience like a gift certificate to a local spa or tickets to the theatre.

Decorate using natural items such as pine cones and evergreens and reuse decorations as much as possible each year.

Reduce Food Waste: Plan your meals ahead to reduce food waste and use up those leftovers!  Send them home with guests or try this leftover turkey and cranberry recipe.  


Reuse Christmas cards as a gift tag or try some of these ideas to upcycle your Christmas cards.

Canadians use between 9 and 15 million plastic bags every year!  To reduce plastic waste when shopping, don’t forget your reusable bags.

Reuse your decorations as much as you can every year.  Or try making new ones reusing items from around your home:


Always make sure container recycling and paper recycling are kept separate.

Use additional blue boxes or reusable containers to set-out extra recycling.  Recyclables in plastic bags will not be collected.

If you are hosting a large gathering over the holidays make it simple for your guests to recycle.  It makes cleaning up much easier.  Properly label bins so guests know how to sort their waste.

Here is how to sort some common Christmas season items:

Blue Box (Paper) Recycling: Paper gift wrap & tissue paper, paper gift bags (remove all ropes, bows, ribbons, NO foil wrapping paper)

Yellow Bin (Container) Recycling: Cartons (egg nog, milk, etc.), cardboard cans (i.e. juice, peanuts, hot chocolate)

Green Cart (Food Waste):  Paper plates & napkins, parchment paper, waxed paper

Garbage:  Blister packaging (usually around toys and electronics), Styrofoam, plastic bags, bubble wrap, non-working lights (check with local scrap metal dealers – some will accept electrical cords), broken decorations, clementine boxes (wooden), plastic utensils, bows/ribbons & foil wrapping

Not sure where something goes?  Use our What Goes Where search tool to find out if something belongs in recycling, compost or garbage. 

images of common items at Christmas and what bin they go in

images of common items at Christmas and what bin they go in


Return eligible beer, wine and liquor containers to the Beer Store for your refund.   When these containers are placed in your recycling bins, especially glass, additional and unnecessary costs are added to your recycling program.  Returning them for your deposit is the best way to recycle them.  Click here for tips on making your returns easier!

Natural Christmas trees can be dropped off free of charge at the Waste Recovery Centre during the month of January.  Trees are chipped into mulch and used in the compost process.

Curbside Collection of Christmas Trees: Christmas trees are collected in Petawawa and Laurentian Valley during the week of January 6th on your REGULAR COLLECTION DAY.   Christmas trees will be collected in the City of Pembroke on January 7th for residents with Monday collection and on January 8th for residents with Tuesday and Wednesday collection  (weather permitting – if significant snowstorm, collection will be rescheduled).

Electronic Waste: Did you get a new computer or TV for Christmas?  Drop-off the old one for free at OVWRC year round.

Batteries: Do not place batteries in garbage or recycling – they can be brought to the Waste Recovery Centre or dropped off at locations throughout the community. 

Thank you for reducing your waste this holiday season.   Merry Christmas!

Written by Elizabeth Graham
Elizabeth Graham has been the Communications Officer at Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre since November 2001. She loves all things up-cycled and re-purposed and enjoys working and volunteering within the community.