Thinking of the planet

Christmas: Ways to reduce waste, save resources.

Carmen Fennel

Carmen Fennel

The season for buying, wrapping and consuming can also be a season for reducing waste and protecting the planet.

Carmen Fennel, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s waste reduction facilitator, has suggestions for making Christmas green.

Rather than buying wrapping paper that may end up in the garbage, consider buying cloth bags for wrapping, or sewing your own.

If you are getting rid of old Christmas lights, take them to your nearest recycling depot – don’t put them in the garbage.

Have the children help make popcorn strings or recycled craft ornaments for the tree. Buying new decorations can ultimately create more waste because of the packaging that comes with them. The same goes for gift buying.

“Leave something on the shelf if it is heavily packaged,” Fennel suggests.

Take a list with you when you’re shopping so you’re not impulse buying. That’s good for the environment as well as the pocketbook.

Instead of purchasing “stuff,” consider buying a gift of time – perhaps a gift certificate to go to a show, theatre tickets or an invitation to take someone out for dinner.

Gift cards are available for most restaurants, recreation facilities and stores.

Used or recycled items can make great gifts, too, such as used sporting equipment  or clothing purchased from a consignment store.

Electronic greeting cards are one way of reducing the paper used in Christmas cards.

After the big day, the CSRD offers its free Christmas tree recycling program at all CSRD landfills and transfer stations from Dec. 27 to Jan. 15. Go to the CSRD website or call 250-833-5950.