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Make ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ this year’s mantra for holiday waste

Recycle BC to start picking up styrofoam starting Dec. 27
The recycle depot in Maple Ridge is gearing up to receive holiday recycling. (Special to The News)

The gift piles under the Christmas trees have been emptied out and all the gifts have been unwrapped, so what’s next? Where should all the holiday decorations and gift wraps, and ribbons go?

Considering the environmental impact and making mindful decisions when it comes to decorations and gift wraps can go a long way in the fight against climate change. So, while reducing what goes to landfill is ideal, people can also opt for recycling and reusing their holiday decorations and gift wraps this year.

Recycle BC has a list of decorations and items they accept and the ones they don’t.

According to Recycle BC, paper or gift wrap, paper gift bags, greeting cards, cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, magazines and even chocolate boxes can all be recycled with paper. Plastic shopping envelopes, shopping bags, bubble wrap, soft plastic packaging could be returned to the depots. Hard plastic packaging, plastic containers, cartons, pie plates, cookie tins could be recycled with containers. However, foil or glitter wrap, ribbons and bows, toys, batteries and string lights wouldn’t be accepted by Recycle BC.

ALSO READ: Glass collection from depots resumed in Maple Ridge on Dec. 20

While the best way to ensure everyone enjoys the holidays without creating too much of a recycling nightmare is to follow the Recycle BC guidelines, Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s Leanne Koehn has also shared some simple tricks and tips to reduce and avoid holiday waste going into the landfill.

  • Save gift wrap to reuse it for next year. Unwrap the glittery, shiney paper carefull so it can be used again, or people can even cut those up into small squares to use for gift tags next year.
  • Remove all ribbons, bows and non-paper decorations before taking out your holiday decorations and wraps for recycling. Place the paper gift wrap in the yellow bag or paper bin at apartments, or bring it to the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot.
  • Live trees are the best as they can be replanted after Christmas. Cut trees can be picked up to be chipped. Check with regular local groups such as the 1st Haney Scout Group and Maple Ridge Search and Rescue to find out about their Christmas Tree chipping offerings.
  • Artificial trees, at the end of their life, with built-in lights or ones that are mostly metal, can be recycled at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot. All others are probably unfortunately headed for the landfill

“Unfortunately, many decorations are not recyclable — save them till next year or, if they’re broken, bring them to the Maple Ridge Repair Café on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 at the Seniors’ Activity Center!” she said.

Koehn also said that from Dec. 27 onwards the depot gets very busy until the second week of January.

“Expect the recycling trucks to come by your home later than usual and expect lineups at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot. Pre-sort your recycling before coming to the depot to keep the lineup moving,” she added.

The recycling depot will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan 1, while on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, the depot will close early at 3 p.m.

Recycle BC also announced last week that they would resume picking up styrofoam at recycling depots starting Dec. 27.

ALSO READ: Ridge Meadows Recycling Society shares recycling tips ahead of holiday season

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Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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