Thursday, 26 December 2013

Reuse tips to get you from Christmas to New Year

It's that time again - the season of peace, love, and the spirit of giving.  Unfortunately, it's also the season of increased waste and energy consumption.  Sometimes we get a little carried away during the holidays, but there are a few simple things that we can all do to make sure this season is merry and bright.

1) Whether it's after Christmas breakfast and you're heading out to visit family and friends, or it's Boxing Day and you're about to brave the shopping malls, remember to unplug your tree! The increased power usage for Christmas lighting is the equivalent of adding 300,000 homes to the province, just over the holiday season.  So do your part to lighten the strain, and don't light up your tree unless you're around to enjoy it.

2) My fellow volunteer, Michelle, gave us some great ideas for non-traditional ways to wrap our Christmas gifts. But the fact is no matter which way they're wrapped, once those gifts are opened you've got a mess of paper to deal with. My family typically recycles our used wrapping paper, but if I can find nice pieces without tape or crinkles I like to keep them to cover books and such. There are other creative ways that your Christmas wrapping can be reused, like origami tree ornaments or découpage.

3) You will always find a very small Christmas celebration at my house, but we always cook an absurd amount of food. What to do with the leftovers? How many days in a row can we choke down turkey sandwiches (not many)? Websites like "Love Food Hate Waste" offer great tips on how to get from Christmas to New Year by making the most of your leftovers and what's left of your spending money.

4) Finally, one of the best things you can do this Christmas is recycle your tree! Edmonton Waste Management has been picking up our Christmas trees from single-family residences, Eco Stations and Recycling Depots since 1990 for chipping and composting. Your old tree can help new trees and plants grow, and help keep our city beautiful.

Wishing you all a merry and reusable Christmas,

Nichole (Volunteer)

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