With Christmas quickly approaching, so too are the mounds of wrapping paper that make their way into the recycling box after a flurry of gift opening.
The holiday season can tend to be a crazy rush and the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society is hoping that rush doesn’t lead to a lot more waste.
“Once people get into the Christmas rush, they tend to trade sustainability for convenience,” said Kim Day, executive director of Ridge Meadows Recycling. “If you plan ahead to ‘Make Memories, Not Garbage,’ you can focus on the things that matter, not just things.”
She suggests people make gift lists in advance to help think of non-wasteful gifts:
• courses, classes, or workshops will teach a new skill and give the gift of time to focus on learning;
• tickets to a play, movie, speaker series, or concert are gifts that delight when they’re given and when the event takes place;
• homemade crafts or the offer of time babysitting, dog walking, or sharing one of your skills is a lovely way to show you care;
• holiday baking or appetizers that are always a welcome treat and can save the recipient time and money while hosting a holiday event.
The society suggests that, when wrapping gifts, people use cloth or paper gift bags that can be used repeatedly, or use cloth gifts such as tea towels, new dish cloths, clothes, and ribbon as wrapping for other gifts.
Other ideas include using children’s artwork for wrapping special gifts or giving gifts that don’t need wrapping.
For people using wrapping paper, the RMRS suggests they pay attention to what kind of wrapping paper is bought and used as plastic gift wrap or foil printed paper is not recyclable.
Only buy paper wrap that can be put in the blue recycling bag.
When unwrapping gifts, pay attention to what will happen to the gift wrap.
If you unwrap presents carefully, most wrap can be reused for many years to come.
Remove all ribbons, bows, and other decorations to store and use again next Christmas.
Sort paper wrap into blue recycling bag.
Remember that mixing plastic and foil print wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons in with your paper wrap makes it difficult, if not impossible, to recycle the paper wrap.
The paper manufacturers cannot accept loads with a high level of contamination and unfortunately mixed loads sometimes end up in the dump. Taking the time to sort out these non-paper items means the paper can actually be made into new paper products.
Also this year, if your recycling pickup is on Thursday, there is a special Saturday pickup planned for you. Thursday pickup residents can set out their recycling by 7 a.m. on Dec. 27 and it will be picked up.
And for people who have made the switch to environmentally friendly LED Christmas lights, old lights can be dropped off for free at recycling depots, in bins located at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre and the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre.
Also, the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot now accepts more than 200 items. So if Santa brings you a new cell phone, new electronics, appliances or a new computer, you can recycle the old items for free at the depot.
Plus there is free depot drop-off for the Styrofoam, cardboard and plastic packing the presents came in.
The recycling depot (0092 – 236th St., just off River Road in the Albion Industrial Park) is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but open late (till 7 p.m.) Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Garbage drop-off is available next door at Metro Vancouver’s Transfer Station, which is operated by SSG Holdings (604-466-9277).
The First Haney Scout group, which is participating in this year’s Waste Reduction Challenge, are selling Christmas trees seven days a week in the Cap’s cycles parking lot at the corner of Lougheed Highway and 216th Street.
When the holidays are over, people can bring their stripped Christmas trees by for chipping, by donation, for the Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue team. The chipping will take place next to Planet Ice from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends of Jan. 3-4 and Jan. 10-11.
The scouts will also provide curbside pickup service of discarded Christmas trees to be chipped for a recommended minimum donation of $10.
• To arrange pickup email the scouts at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-244-2850.
Kevin Gillies is a freelance writer for Black Press.