Top tips yule need to know to celebrate a green Christmas in Calgary

How to properly dispose of your holiday waste
WATCH (Dec. 23, 2018): Sharon Howland with the City of Calgary joins Global News Calgary to discuss holiday waste and how people can properly dispose of it.

After the paper is ripped off the presents and leftovers are scraped off plates, do you ever consider where the garbage goes after Christmas is wrapped?

“Calgarians typically produce 25 per cent more waste than usual over the holidays,” says Sharon Howland, leader of program management with the City of Calgary’s waste and recycling services.

“While Calgarians have access to recycling and composting, it is important to first reduce waste, reuse items, then recycle and compost right.”

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Follow the city’s tips below to reduce waste, recycle what you can and dispose of materials correctly this noel.

Reduce and reuse

To reduce waste this holiday season:

  • gift experiences instead of physical goods
  • buy items that come with less or recyclable packaging
  • use fabric, flyers or old calendars to wrap presents
  • save gift wrap, ribbons, bags and bows for next year
  • plan your meals to prevent food waste
  • choose reuseable cloth napkins instead of paper ones
  • use reusable containers for leftovers instead of plastic wrap or tin foil
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Put these items in the blue bin:

  • wrapping and tissue paper
  • cardboard boxes
  • paper gift bags (remove handles prior)
  • cards and envelopes
  • moulded plastic packaging with recycling symbol #1-7
  • bubble wrap
  • tins
Be sure to recycle wrapping and tissue paper, cards and envelopes.
Be sure to recycle wrapping and tissue paper, cards and envelopes. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Sheila Boardman.


Place these foods in the green cart:

  • turkey carcasses and other bones
  • pastries, cookies, cakes and muffins
  • plate scrapings and vegetable scraps
  • food-soiled paper (napkins, paper plates, coffee filters, baking paper and liners)
  • cooking oil, lard, shortening, jam, butter, sauces, grease, dips, salad dressing, mayonnaise and gravy

As for real Christmas trees, you can either put it in the green cart or use a drop-off location. After taking off all the fixings, cut the tree into pieces no bigger than four feet long and place in your green cart. Whole trees can be dropped off at one of 13 locations around the city from Dec. 26 to Jan. 31.

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Toss the following into the black bin:

  • non-recyclable gift wrap (cellophane, metallic and foil gift wrap)
  • broken household items
  • all types of foam packaging (takeout containers and packing peanuts)

If you’re not sure what goes where, the city has a tool for that.

WATCH (July 30, 2014): Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus join Global Calgary to discuss the principles of minimalism and what inspired them to try it.