Zero Waste Blog

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Create Memories, Not Garbage

November 29, 2019 Create Memories, Not Garbage

Create Memories, Not Garbage


Once again we’re counting down the days with our Zero Waste holiday ideas! Here are 25 suggestions to reduce your holiday waste! Thanks to Metro Vancouver for the holiday imagery.


1: Secondhand: make the old new again
Thrift shops and other second-hand stores are a treasure trove for great gift ideas, and reuse is an effective way to make your gift giving sustainable. Just because something is used, doesn’t mean it won’t make a perfect gift for that special someone. Check out The Wish Factory, Whitehorse Community Thrift Store, Changing Gear, or other second-hand stores in your community for good quality used items and help break the stigma around second-hand stuff!

2. Transit Pass
A bus pass is a great Christmas gift and helps encourage alternative modes of transport!

3. Online news/magazine subscription
Does someone in your family subscribe to newspapers or magazines? Consider gifting them an online subscription to their favourite periodical! Going paperless saves trees and lets them access the latest articles right at their fingertips!

4. Adopt a species
Looking for a good gift for the nature lover in your family? Consider symbolically adopting an endangered species in their name! This is a perfect waste free gift that helps support organizations working to protect our wild species! Check out Nature Conservancy Canada for ideas!

5. Cloth Napkins
Cloth napkins are a lovely gift for the kitchen. They add a touch of fanciness to your dinners and help drastically cut down on single-use paper napkins.

6. Dance Lessons
Instead of dancing around store aisles looking for gifts, try a new activity with your partner and give the gift of dance lessons! Learning a new skill together is sure to bring you closer, and you might fall in love with a new dance style! Check out the Northern Lights School of Dance, Leaping Feats, or find a teacher in your community!

7. Creative wrapping
Traditional Christmas wrap is generally not recyclable due to the short fibres, inks and metals in the paper. Try out some creative or recycled alternatives like newspaper, brown paper, maps or textiles. Challenge yourself to wrap without tape to further reduce the material you use!

8. Herbs and spices
Live plants or a collection of dried spices is the perfect gift for the culinary folks in your family or friend group. Try roasting your own spice blend or giving a collection of bulk spices in reused jars!

9. Bike repair
Help the cyclist in your life get back on the road by giving them a repair or tune-up for Christmas. You’ll help them stay active and it supports emissions-free modes of transport!

10. Pool pass
A pass to the local pool is the perfect gift for those who love to swim, sauna or steam! Combine this gift with a new towel made of 100% cotton or other natural fibres if you like!

11. Growler fill
Draft beer is Zero Waste. Stop by Yukon Brewing or Winterlong and fill up a growler with your loved one’s favourite brew. They can reuse it over and over, a gift that keeps on giving!

12. Used books
Gather some previously read books from your collection or visit Well Read Books and pick up something for the literary types on your Christmas wish list. Passing on books is thoughtful and a great way to reduce waste. It also keeps them circulating so they can be read instead of just sitting on a shelf!

13. Clothing repair
Instead of shelling out for new clothes, give the gift of repair by fixing a loved one’s torn clothing, or bringing it to a repair shop in town! Renueva offers affordable alterations and mending services, and they also sell beautiful used clothing. Thrifting is the new shopping!

14. Give groceries
This year, instead of toys or video games, try giving food and drink. You can help cut down on a loved one’s grocery bill and giving food is a timeless tradition. Alternatively, if you can, consider a donation to the Whitehorse Food Bank in lieu of a material gift. You’ll be making someone else’s Christmas special as well as your own!

15. Get creative with your cards
Try reusing old cards from previous Christmases, or make your own with scrap paper! No need to buy new cards in plastic envelopes when you likely have all the things to make one at home already! If you’re buying cards, look for something made locally and with recycled paper.

16. Borrow from nature
Looking to decorate this year? Consider making natural decorations using spruce boughs, pine cones or other materials. They’ll add a nice aroma to the house, you can avoid plastic and you can compost everything when Christmas is over! 

17. Reusable straws
Know someone who loves to sip their drink from a straw? Why not get them a reusable straw that they can reuse forever? You can get glass, bamboo or metal straws at Riverside Grocery in Whitehorse, and you’ll be avoiding lots of plastic in the process!

18. Donate to charity
Stuck on what to get your friend or family member for Christmas? Why not make a charitable donation in their name to a local organization that could use some support? No materials necessary, and you can both feel good knowing you’ve done something to help those in need.

19. Handmade
Crafting a gift yourself will always be more meaningful than something store-bought. Try weaving, baking, or something totally new, and you’ll create a gift worth more than anything you can get in a shop!

20. Ski day
Head out for a day on the trails at Mt. McIntyre as a Christmas gift activity! You can rent any gear you don’t have, and can enjoy a day outside, without any waste!  

21. Write an IOU
Instead of a material gift, give an IOU for your services. It’s a fun way to give something meaningful without any of the waste. Offer to do someone’s chores for a week, or give an IOU good for one free massage, redeemable when they choose.

22. Home cooked gifts
Cookies, baked goods and other homemade creations are a great holiday treat and don’t require any excess packaging or wrapping! Instead of buying presents for friends, invite them over for a home cooked meal!

23. Go to a show
Experiential gifts are waste-free (especially if you walk or bike!). Consider buying tickets to concert or theatre performance as a Christmas gift. The experience you give will also provide the person receiving it with memories to cherish for years to come!

24. Buy local
There are many local businesses and craft fairs in Whitehorse and other Yukon communities. Visit these to find handcrafted local art, food and other gifts. You’ll be supporting local businesses and individuals, as well as eliminating the waste associated with importing goods from outside the territory.

25. No gifts!
Pose the idea to your family of not giving any gifts this year. Christmas should be about more than material goods, and a gift-free holiday means you can focus more on sharing time with those who matter most to you.

Happy holidays!



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