By nature, Christmas is a time when people wind up with a lot of garbage.
No, we’re not talking about the horrible singing fish or hideous novelty slippers you plan to re-gift as soon as possible, we’re talking about the packaging from the manufacturers and the additional packaging we put on everything this time of year.
A distressing number of things come pre-wrapped in plastic bubbles that it takes a blowtorch to try to penetrate on Christmas morning. And almost everything comes within a plastic bag, attached to a cardboard backing with zip ties, or even in a plastic bag within a cardboard box — sometimes even further encased in Styrofoam shock cushions.
There’s not a lot we can do about that immediately, but what we can do is make sure as much of this stuff is disposed of in as green a way as possible. Styrofoam and some plastics can be taken to the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s transfer stations, properly sorted. Cardboard is the most easily disposed of in our regular recycling.
But then there’s the stuff we jazz all those gifts up with. Some people have probably already wrapped all of their gifts already, but for those who haven’t, consider some ways to do it that are kinder to the environment. Look for recyclable paper (even newsprint) to tape gifts into. Consider forgoing the ribbons and bows, if they are made of plastic. There are always cloth alternatives, too. Gift bags should be viewed as something you will re-use, hopefully for many years. It is perfectly possible to recirculate a pretty gift bag more than once. Nobody will be offended, if they even notice. You can often pick up swaths of them cheaply at yard sales and thrift shops. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can even look at cloth gift bags, or wrap gifts in cloth.
Even old strands of Christmas lights can be recycled at the CVRD’s transfer stations, so don’t just throw the lot out.
It’s a small thing, but if we all do it, the impact will add up. After all, the impact of not doing it is sure adding up as is.