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Don’t Scrooge around this Christmas: How to reduce, reuse and recycle in Calgary

The City of Calgary is suggesting tips to go green and reduce waste this Christmas.
The City of Calgary is suggesting tips to go green and reduce waste this Christmas. Global News

As the countdown to Christmas 2019 approaches the final week, the City of Calgary is offering ideas on how to make it a green one.

Calgarians generally produce more waste over the holidays, according to Sharon Howland, leader of program management with the city’s waste and recycling services.

“We see an increase of around 25 per cent during the holiday season, and a lot of the material can definitely be recycled or composted,” she said Tuesday.

Ways to avoid waste

The city said people can reduce waste by:

  • giving experiences instead of goods
  • buying things with less packaging
  • planning meals and shopping lists
  • using reusable napkins and containers
  • using fabric, flyers or old calendars to wrap gifts
  • saving gift wrap for future use
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“Lots of folks still get newspaper subscriptions or you get it at work,” Howland said. “Take some of that newspaper home, wrap presents up in that. You can use fabrics like tea towels, make your own cloth, reusable bags… There’s no reason why this can’t be reused over and over again. So definitely consider stashing some reusable wrapping away and reusing it over and over for birthdays and Christmas.”

To tackle food waste, go through your kitchen so you only buy what you need, Howland said.

“Get a good understanding of what you actually need, because how many times do you purchase multiples of things you already have in the cupboard?” she said.

“You want to make sure that you’re planning ahead: how many people are you having over? Don’t overestimate how much they’re going to consume because that does result in food waste. Ask your friends and family to bring some reusable containers with them so that they can take leftovers home.”

The City of Calgary is offering tips and tricks to celebrate a greener Christmas in 2019.
The City of Calgary is offering tips and tricks to celebrate a greener Christmas in 2019. Global News

The biggest mistake families make is being in a rush, Howland said, adding that it’s best to assign and divide up tasks.

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“It’s stressful. You’ve got family coming over. You’re just in a hurry and it’ll just be faster and easier if I just put all of this in the garbage,” she said. “And really, you can have such a significant impact by just setting things up ahead of time and sorting properly. So on Christmas Day, it’s a packaging explosion, so just make sure that you’re planning a little bit ahead.”

If you’re unsure of what goes in which bin, click here.

Real Christmas trees

If you have a real Christmas tree to dispose of, either place it in pieces inside your closed green cart or take it to a drop-off spot between Dec. 26 and Feb 2.

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Change in collection days

There is no cart pickup on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day for homes with residential cart service, the city said.

If your blue, green or black cart collection is usually on Wednesday, your collection day will be two days earlier over the holidays.

  • Christmas Day pickup will move to Dec. 23
  • New Year’s Day pickup will move to Dec. 30