How to have a green Christmas and save on waste

The big day has almost arrived! Here’s to delicious food, great company and thoughtful gifts for our loved ones. Christmas is always a time to relax and spend time with family, however, it is also a very ‘wasteful’ time of year when it comes to garbage. Constantly entertaining large crowds, wrapping endless presents and cooking nonstop is part of the holiday season, but it can be done in a way to reduce waste, reuse what you have and recycle when you can. Check out these nifty ways to save money, and waste, this Christmas!


  • Avoid disposable items. Do you really need 100 coloured napkins or 50 mini shot glasses? Many disposable items are made out of plastic and sure, they can be recycled, but they are often unnecessary. Turn on the dishwasher on Christmas day or make a festive game out of who has to wash the dishes so you don’t need to buy the disposable cutlery or paper plates this year.
  • Save bags. Many people are now in the habit of bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, so why not keep them in your car for all occasions? Whether you’re hitting the mall, Toys ‘R’ Us or Costco for your Christmas presents this year, bring along a ball of bags to help cut down on the number you bring home.


  • Use old boxes, wrapping paper from past years, tissue and gift bags you have saved up, even newspaper – your loved ones won’t care what the outside looks like! Make sure these reusable items are easy to recycle. Skip out on plastic bags and any wrapping papers that have plastic or metallic pieces.
  • Try using fabric gift bags that can be reused year after year – and you can choose any pattern you like. This option reduces waste and allows you to be creative. Why not find the seamstress in your family and propose this idea? It’s a quick and easy project, and it could make a unique Christmas gift!


  • If you are one of those families that love the smell of a real evergreen Christmas tree, you’re probably wondering what to do with it come January. Calgary offers several options when it comes to getting rid of your Christmas tree, whether you want to compost it or drop it off at your nearest facility. Visit the City of Calgary website for disposal options.
  • Put your waste in the proper place. Flatten cardboard, compost food scraps and clean your plastics before putting in the recycling. Make recycling quick and painless for all those involved this holiday season by sorting it before you toss it.
  • Know what you can and cannot recycle. If you’re unsure, read the city’s list of accepted items.

There are many ways to reduce waste around Christmas time, so think carefully about your common habits and how you too can help Calgary towards a less-wasteful year.

Merry Christmas Calgary, and Happy New Year!