Holiday Waste Diversion

The holiday season brings items into our homes we don’t normally have around – in fact, during the holidays the amount of waste generated increases by approximately 25%!

When preparing for the holidays by purchasing or bringing new items into your home, think of how you will dispose of it in the end – oftentimes there are options that are better choices to divert waste from going to the landfill.


Real Vs. Artificial Trees

Female in a red winter hat and a male in a grey winter hat carrying a Christmas tree on a snowy day.

Trying to decide between getting a real tree or an artificial one?

Real trees are the right choice environmentally as:

  • Artificial trees are not recyclable and eventually end up in landfill
  • Real trees are completely compostable – bring it to one of our drop offs.

Real trees are grown closer to home and use less resources to produce than artificial.

Read the article Real or Artificial Tree: Which is Better? in the winter 2024 City Guide.

Green Your Gathering

Hosting a family get-together? Make sure it’s green:

  • Use reusable plates, cups and cutlery
  • If purchasing food, snacks and drink choose ones that are in recyclable packaging
  • If you need to use disposable items, buy ones that are recyclable. Just look for the recycling symbol on the plastic cups, plates and food trays before you buy.
  • Learn if something’s recyclable in our Waste Wizard

Common holiday waste that can be recycled right at the curb in blue bags:

  • Eggnog containers
  • Whipping cream containers
  • Orange juice containers
  • Cranberry sauce and Fussell’s cream tins
  • Syrup bottles
  • Cookie and chocolate tins
  • Liquor bottles (plastic only)
  • Gift boxes, cardboard boxes

Make Memories – Not Garbage

A young girl smiling at a table decorating gingerbread cookies with a woman smiling holding a bowl looking over the young girls shoulder.

Give the gift of an experience – buy your loved ones tickets to a show, the movies, a museum, an activity centre or a game.

Gift homemade – knit a scarf or pair of mittens, make preserves, bake cookies or treats and package them in a reuseable container.

Give a gift that will last – choose a gift that will be used and is of good quality.

Wrapping Paper Alternatives

A gift wrapped in brown paper decorated with two cinnamon sticks, a fir tree twig, and a bow made of twine. It is being held over a table with two hands. The table is decorated with pine cones, red berries, and white Christmas lights.

You can help reduce the environmental impact of the holidays by choosing alternatives to traditional wrapping paper.

Instead of wrapping paper, use:

  • Reusable gift bags
  • Brown packing paper, decorate with a candy cane or piece of greenery
  • Cloth gift bags or cinch sacks
  • Newspaper (the comic section can be lots of fun)
  • Children’s art
  • Reusable jars and tins

Gifts are still festive and fun even without traditional wrapping paper. There are numerous other ways to reduce the gift wrap for any special occasion – watch our quick video here.

Recycle E-Waste

Electronic devices are a popular gift of choice during the holiday season. This might be a great time to get a new phone or gaming console for the kids.

It also means that we need to think about how to properly dispose of the older devices, including cords and chargers.

Please responsibly recycle those end-of-life electronics at an approved collection site.

Recycle Your Real Christmas Tree

A pile of Christmas trees with background of Quidi Vidi Lake and buildings on the hill.

After the holidays drop off your real Christmas tree at the Quidi Vidi Lake Parking Lot or the Robin Hood Bay Residential Drop Off.

Only natural, undecorated trees are accepted – no artificial trees, decorations, tinsel or other man-made objects. Please do not bundle or tie the tree.

All the trees collected are turned into mulch chips which are used in horticultural projects in the City’s green spaces.

Learn more:


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