Tips on Cutting Back on Waste Over the Holiday Season

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If you’re like me, seeing a lot of the headlines from 2019 has climate change on the forefront of my brain.

A lot of musicians have even begun to change up their approach to touring because of how important the topic is! Billie Eilish is asking fans to bring reusable water bottles to her show, Shawn Mendes launched the Shawn Mendes Foundation to find eco-friendly ways to tour and now Coldplay won’t be touring until they find a sustainable way to do it.

Since the Holidays are on the way, I decided to look into some “zero-waste” initiatives to take when it comes to getting festive! I asked people around Kitchener-Waterloo for their advice and here’s what they came back with:

For wrapping gifts:

  • Earthy Sisters: Furoshiki wrapping: this is a Japanese style of wrapping gifts that doesn’t require any sewing and can be re-used. You can use cloths, old sheets, bandanas, towels, or other fabrics to wrap your gifts Furoshiki style. A simple search on Youtube or Google of how to Furoshiki wrap can help you save tons on wrapping paper or gift bags (not to mention, you avoid so much waste!) 

Waste Watchers: Gift Wrap 🎁 We'd like to take some credit here because we worked really hard on making our own Christmas bags this year. Our Nam taught us how to sew and we put our newfound skills to good use. Why did we make our own gift bags? Because we are sick and tired of all of the wrapping paper waste every year! We have a big family, and that means lots of presents, which means LOTS of garbage. πŸ˜©πŸ™…‍♀️ This year we took it into our own hands to reduce the holiday garbage by making our own reusable gift bags. We did buy some fabric for the ones pictured here, but we also used some old bed sheets and t-shirts too. The bottom gift is wrapped Furoshiki style. You can use any piece of fabric (towelette, tshirt, bed sheets, etc.) to wrap up pretty much anything and it will hold it together tightly! You can youtube how to wrap #furoshiki style. Choosing this method for gift wrapping this year took us no longer than 5 hours (for over 20 bags) and is such an amazing way to reduce your waste this year for the holidays, birthdays, or any special occasion. What do you think about making your own bags? Would you commit to a few hours each year to make some?

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  • Ashley Sprague: Wrap your presents in used newspaper. You can collect paper that’s being thrown out at local coffee shops
  • Mo Markham: Old calendars can be used as gift wrap. The tiny little pictures of each page on the back  of the calendar can be cut out individually and used as a gift tag. Old cards can also be cut up and used as gift tags

For giving gifts:

  • Earthy Sisters: Instead of giving gifts, give experiences! What better gift than the gift of time?
  • Earthy Sisters:  Focus on the necessities! We suggest gifting something you WANT, something you NEED, something to WEAR, and something to READ 
  • Darcee Arielle:  For my mum, I am donating to sick kids hospital (you can “purchase” a holiday experience for children there). For my sister, I am babysitting her 1.5 year old twins and sending her and her husband out to see a movie. For my dad, we are going to cook and eat a meal together. Instead of doing secret santa, my friends and I are donating to a dog rescue. We’ve also done a “regiftmas” where we swap items that we already own and don’t need anymore
  • Taylor Mann: Making gifts using things you already have, up-cycles materials or second hand materials. I made a sign for my mom using my wood burner and a board I already had

For decorating:

  • Earthy Sisters: Make your own Advent Calendar (you can purchase reusable ones, or make your own) all with buying BULK candies or snacks from Bulk Barn to avoid waste

Simple Change: Zero Waste Advent Calendar πŸ—“πŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸ» Did you buy an advent calendar this year? Did you know that it probably has a plastic liner holding the chocolate in place? Does it even mention where the chocolate is sourced? Are the chocolate individually wrapped? Most store bought advents are not ethically sourced and certainly not organic or vegan, and can produce a lot of waste. So what about making a simple change to an advent calendar where you get to pick your fun little daily surprises? Our wonderful, amazing, and creative mother took an old Starbucks advent that she bought years ago and did what any zero-waster would do and went to the bulk shop! (Yes our mom still gives us advent calendars) Our mom has filled our advent calendars with different bulk and vegan options for each day! Isn't that awesome? This simple change is waste free, healthy (if you want it to be), and vegan! All of this makes Earth smile (we hope) and our tummies happy. What are you doing this year to reduce your holiday waste?

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  • Earthy Sisters: Salt dough Christmas ornaments are a really fun and easy way to reduce your plastic purchases at Christmas. These easy to make ornaments can serve you on a tree, or give them out as Christmas tags that can be composted later

Zero Waste Christmas Ornaments! We’ve been busy crafting! These zero waste nature ornaments are super cute and easy to make! Stars are made with sticks found on the ground, hot glue (or glue of choice) and hemp rope. ✨ Pine ornaments are each made with 3 pine tree branches tied together at the top with hemp rope. 🌲 Snowflake, snowman and candy cane are made from a salt dough. To make these you will need 1 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 1/2-3/4 cups water and 2-3 TBS of cinnamon. Mix all ingredients together to creat your dough. Once mixed, roll out and use cookie cutters to create your Christmas shapes! Be sure to let your shapes dry out, this may take 2-3 days. ⛄️❄️ **Salt dough ornaments can also double as a Christmas tag πŸŽ…πŸ»

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For sending cards:

-          There are a ton of paperless e-card companies! This will be my first year sending e-cards rather than writing physical cards and I’m so excited to not have to lick any stamps! (Sarah Christie)​