Monday, December 2, 2019

Reduce, reuse and recycle right this holiday season

by: Ashalea Stone

'Tis the season for gift giving, holiday parties and spending time with family and friends. It’s also a time of year when people tend to produce more waste. As gift giving peaks, the City of Toronto is asking residents to be mindful of the waste they generate during the holiday season.  

Small changes to daily routines can make a big impact. Apply the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle right – and try to incorporate some of the following tips into your holidays. Also check the 2020 waste management calendar, coming soon to your mailbox.

  • Carry a reusable bag when shopping for holiday gifts and say no to excess tissue and packaging.
  • Consider low-waste gifts such as gift cards, tickets to an event, an experiential or service-based gift or give a charitable donation in a loved one's name.
  • Avoid single-use items such as cutlery, plates and cups when planning holiday parties.
Find out more after the jump...

  • Save gift bags, gift wrap, ribbons and bows to reuse year after year.
  • Host a holiday swap with parents to exchange kids’ clothes and toys that are no longer used.
  • Get crafty when wrapping by using items you have around your house such as newspaper, old calendars and cards.
Recycle right:
  • Dispose of foil/metallic wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, bubble wrap, bubble envelopes, packing peanuts and fruit crates in the garbage. 
  • Recycle paper gift wrap and flattened cardboard, and rinse plastic plates and plastic cups before placing them in the Blue Bin (recycling).
  • Never put recycling in black bags or throw black plastics in the Blue Bin (recycling).
  • Use the Green Bin (organics) for fruit and vegetable scraps, meat including bones, spoiled cakes and cookies, and soiled paper plates and napkins (unless they have absorbed chemicals such as cleaning products).  

The City manages approximately 900,000 tonnes of waste each year. That requires money, energy and resources, and garbage takes up valuable landfill space. As part of its Long-Term Waste Management Strategy, the City is encouraging Torontonians to reduce waste throughout the year.

For more tips and ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle right this holiday season, watch for your waste management calendar in the mail in December and visit

Information about how to properly dispose of holiday items is available at and on the new TOwaste App, available for download at

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