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Holiday recycling tips

The holiday season is upon us! Many Calgarians will be celebrating with Christmas trees, lights, decorations, and the giving and receiving of gifts. That also means lots of items to recycle, reuse or donate. There are a number of donation, recycling or disposal options for your holiday items. Here are some handy tips for how to reduce your waste this holiday season.

Ideas to reduce your waste during the holidays

Reduce your waste during the holidays

Give the gift of experience. Instead of stuff, give an experience such as theatre tickets or ski passes.

Give the gift of time. Time is one the most precious gifts we can give. Lend a hand to an older relative or friend by helping with their shopping. Offer to clean someone's house, yard or to babysit.

Try making your own gifts. Do-it-yourself gifts tend to be more eco-friendly in general, try knitting a hat or painting a canvas - this makes for a fun holiday activity too.

Consider alternative ways to wrap gifts. You can reuse bags and boxes that you already have at home. Use cloth bags, tea towels, a t-shirt or simply avoid wrapping completely.

Ditch the cards. Cards are one of the biggest contributors to holiday waste. There are many great alternatives, such as writing a message on a photo keepsake, or sending an e-card.

Start a 'Holiday Re-use' bin at home. Re-use the wrapping, ribbon, and bows from gifts you receive, or use extra paper to make unique DIY cards for next year.

Bring back re-gifting! Who said that re-gifting is tacky? If you don't need it, think of somebody who might benefit from that item you'll never use.

Reuse or donate these holiday items

If you have items that are still in good shape, they can be reused or donated. Many local charities accept donations of usable household goods at drop-off locations or offer a free pick-up service. You can also give to family and friends, bring clothes to consignment stores or post on Kijiji or other online bartering sites to find a new home for your unwanted items.

Please note: Do not put these items in your blue cart.

Gently used clothing and shoes

Toys, stuffed animals, board games

TVs, laptops and other electronics: Find an electronics recycling option on the What Goes Where search tool.

Household items

Recycle these holiday items

Place these items in your blue cart or take them to a community recycling depot.

Remember to put your recycling in loose - do not use black garbage bags or blue plastic bags.

Wrapping paper and tissue paper: Crumple into balls. It's OK to leave tape on before recycling.

Cardboard boxes, gift boxes, shoe and shipping boxes: Flatten your boxes to make extra room in your blue cart.

Paper gift bags: Remove the handles if they are not made of paper before recycling.

Holiday cards and envelopes

Bubble wrap: Bundle inside a clear plastic bag and tie closed.

Moulded plastic packaging

Throw away these holiday items

Foil or metallic-coated wrapping paper

Ribbons, bows and string (that you can't reuse)

Broken ornaments and tinsel

Foam packaging

Artificial Christmas trees

Recycle your real Christmas tree

This year's Christmas tree recycling program will offer drop-off locations only. Bring your Christmas tree to a drop-off location between December 26, 2016 and January 31, 2017.

Be sure to remove the tinsel, decorations, garland, lights, string and tree stands.

There will be no door-to-door curbside pick-up of Christmas trees from residential homes this year.