Recycle and Compost Right

Reduce, reuse and recycle right for the holidays

This holiday season make sure your gift wrap, boxes and food scraps end up in the right cart. Check out our tips below to reduce, reuse and properly dispose of your waste this holiday season.

To find out where to recycle, compost or dispose of your everyday items, and how to properly prepare them, visit What Goes Where.

Download our handy tip sheet for more ways to reduce your holiday waste.

Meal planning and cooking

• Make a shopping list and only buy what you need. Remember to shop from your pantry and fridge first to use up food you already have.

• Use reusable containers for leftovers instead of plastic wrap or tin foil.

• Save bones and vegetable peelings for soup stock. Compost what is left when you are done with them.

Gift buying and decorations

• Buy items with less packaging. Making less waste is always best!

• Set up a Secret Santa gift exchange with friends and family to limit the number of presents needed.

• Make edible gifts like cookies or jam.

• Repaint and repurpose your Christmas decorations to give them new life.

• Consider swapping items with friends and neighbours to change up your décor.

Get creative with your gift wrapping

• Use newspapers and flyers to wrap gifts and then recycle after.

• Wrap gifts with dish towels, in jars or other household items you can reuse again later.

• Most gift bags, boxes and tissue paper can be reused multiple times. Save your gift wrap to reuse next Christmas or for other celebrations.

Old and broken decorations

Holiday décor belongs in the black cart if it can’t be reused. This includes:

• Christmas lights

• Tinsel

• Broken ornaments

Keep tanglers out of the recycling! Things like Christmas lights make a total mess at the recycling facility. They end up wrapping around all the good recyclables creating a giant ‘hairball’ that stops the sorting process and is a real hazard to clean up.

Compost your real Christmas tree

Remove all lights, ornaments and tinsel then cut your real tree into small pieces to fit inside your green cart. Or take your whole tree to one of our drop-off locations from Dec. 26 – Jan. 31.

Cooking oil, fats and grease

Put cooking oil, fats, sauces, drippings and grease in your green cart.

Soak up with a paper towel or solidify fats and grease by letting it cool at room temperature or in the fridge.

Never flush fats, oils or grease down your toilet, sink or drain. They can damage your home's pipes and the environment.

Recycle electronics the right way

As you’re clearing out your old computer, television or gadgets, take them to an electronics recycling drop-off location. They will get disassembled and the recovered plastic, metal and glass will be recycled.

Safely dispose of household batteries

If they end up in any of your carts, batteries can get crushed and cause fires at the recycling, composting and landfill facilities. This includes non-rechargeable alkaline batteries (AA and AAA) and rechargeable batteries found in cellphones, laptops and cordless power tools.

Take household batteries to a participating retailer for free recycling.

Foam packaging

Put all types of foam into your black cart. This includes:

• Foam packing peanuts

• Large foam packaging

• Foam cups and takeout containers

Why isn’t foam acceptable in blue carts?

Foam breaks up into many small pieces that ends up contaminating the good recyclables. Keep foam out of your blue cart.