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Reduce, reuse and recycle right this holiday season

This holiday season, make sure your tenants know which bins to put gift wrap, boxes and Christmas food scraps in. Better yet, give your tenants waste tips on how to repurpose, reuse and get creative with how to reduce their waste this holiday season. 

Get prepared for the holiday season

Here are some easy tips to help your residents recycle and compost right during the holidays:

1. Start early by providing holiday reduce, reuse and recycle right tips to your tenants.

  • Post extra signage in your building,
  • Put tips in your building newsletter, or
  • Create a flyer with tips for correct holiday diversion to share with your residents to help them sort waste properly. You can slip the flyer under your tenants door or distribute it via their mailboxes. 

Ready to use written tips for residents

2. Ensure your building has an adequate supply of recycling containers to avoid overflowing and messy waste stations over the holiday season.

  • Contact your waste service provider to determine if they can provide additional containers or pickups during the holiday season.

3. Regularly check the waste containers for common sorting mistakes by residents to help catch errors early.

Some common items that often end up in the wrong bins and should go in the garbage bin include:

  • Non-recyclable gift wrap like cellophane, metallic and foil papers
  • Ribbons and string
  • Foam packaging (i.e. Styrofoam)
  • Household items like dishes and glasses
  • Christmas decorations, Christmas lights and artificial Christmas Trees

Need some help coming up with tips for residents?

Below are some good reminders to share, that we are happy for you to copy and paste into signage, newsletters or flyers.

Recycle right reminder for tenants

The holiday season means a lot of gift wrap, boxes and other recyclables that belong in the blue bin. Remember, put the following recyclables into the recycling bin:

  • Wrapping paper and tissue paper
  • Cardboard boxes, gift boxes, shoe and shipping boxes – flatten your boxes to make extra room in our recycle bin.
  • Paper gift bags – remove the handles before recycling.
  • Holiday cards and envelopes.
  • Molded plastic packaging with recycling symbol #1-7 (commonly found with electronics and toys).
  • Bubble wrap and stretchy plastic – bundle with other stretchy plastic bags tie the handles closed.
  • Cookie and chocolate tins – eat the cookies and chocolates first.

Compost right reminder for tenants

Remember that the following holiday food scraps can go in the green bin:

  • Turkey carcasses and other bones.
  • Pastries, cookies, cakes and muffins.
  • Plate scrapings and vegetable scraps.
  • All food-soiled paper, including napkins, paper plates, coffee filters, baking paper and liners.
  • Cooking oil, lard, shortening, jam, butter, sauces, grease, dips, salad dressing, mayonnaise, and gravy. Put into a compostable bag first before putting in our shared green bin.

Christmas trees

Between December 26 to January 31, take your real Christmas Tree to one of The City’s Christmas Tree Drop-off locations.

Additional reduce and reuse message to share with your tenants

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.
  • Stocks and broths are one of the best ways to use up trimmings from food prep throughout the holiday season. Use bones and unwanted cuts of meat, and vegetable peelings for soup stocks. 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 neighbors to change your décor up.

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 and for other celebrations.

Recycle electronics the right way

Did you get a new gadget for a gift? As you’re clearing out your old gadgets, take them to an electronics recycling drop-off location. They will get disassembled and the recovered plastic, metal, and glass will be recycled. 

Old and broken decorations

Holiday décor belongs in the garbage 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.

Foam packaging

Put all types of foam into your garbage. This includes:

  • Foam packing peanuts
  • Large foam packaging
  • Foam cups and takeout containers

Why isn’t foam acceptable in recycling?

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

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