Reduce reuse recycle right this holiday season
December 18, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Christmas is a time to bring together family and friends to celebrate the season however it also means an increase in our recycling and garbage.   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, 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.


Reuse Christmas cards as a gift tag.

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.

Recycle (and Compost) Right: 

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.

Here is how to sort some common Christmas season items:

Blue Box (Paper) Recycling: Paper gift wrap & tissue paper, paper gift bags

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, broken decorations, clementine boxes (wooden), plastic utensils, bows/ribbons & foil wrapping

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

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

Other Tips

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.

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

Old electronics can be dropped off year round at the Waste Recovery Centre. 

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

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

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.