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'Tis the season to sleigh holiday waste!

From the City of Ottawa

With many exciting holidays coming up over the next few months, now is the perfect time to think of how you can cut down on  waste this season.

According to Zero Waste CanadaOpens in a new tab or window(link is external), Canadians use 6 million rolls of tape annually when wrapping presents. Most tape is made from synthetic materials and can take hundreds of years to decompose in the landfill. Pair that with plastic ribbons and incorrectly binned food leftovers, and you can imagine how much of an impact the holiday season has on our quickly-filling landfill.

There are many ways you can reduce waste when it comes to gifts, food and decorations, but here are just a few ideas.

Give the gift of sustainability

Gifts can be fun to give and receive but often come packaged and wrapped in a fair bit of waste. Save any gift bags and bows you receive and reuse them for other gifts. You can also opt for reusable wrapping such as fabrics that can be reused each year and look fantastic when paired with string instead of ribbon!

When shopping for gifts, why not visit thrift stores or check out your local Buy Nothing group for unique decorations or second-hand gift ideas? One person's trash is another's ugly sweater party treasure! You can also give a waste-free gift, like an experience, a charitable donation, or an e-gift card to a local restaurant.

Keep the Christmas spirit ever-green

Celebrating Christmas? Christmas trees are beautiful and festive, but each year thousands of trees are cut down and eventually left at the curb. Did you know that you can keep a live tree in a planter year-round? You can re-use it for years to come and plant it in the garden once it has gotten too big.

If you still prefer cut trees and it’s time to throw it out, remember to remove all decorations and the City will pick it up at the curb on your regular collection day. Please don’t place it on top of snowbanks or put it in plastics bags. But before you put it out for collection, wait until spring and give your tree a new life! If you leave the evergreen in your backyard over the winter, birds will find shelter in its branches, especially on very cold nights and during storms.

For more ideas on what to do with your Christmas tree, including places where you can donate your it, visit our waste reduction and education webpage.

Waste Not, Feast Lots!

The next few months are packed with holidays and events that come paired with delicious feasts! Enjoy every meal, but don’t let your food go to waste. Cold rice and pasta make great salads and overripe bananas are perfect for banana bread. Still got excess leftovers and food gone bad? Let your green bin partake in the festivities too!

As we revel in the joy of the holiday season, let's embrace the power of making small changes in our traditions. By rethinking our approach to gift-giving and festivities, we help prolong the life of our landfill and prevent unnecessary waste.

For more information on City programs and services, visit, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through Facebook(link is external)Twitter(link is external) and Instagram(link is external)


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