Make Memories Not Waste

Packaging, wrapping paper, plastic toys and decorations often aren't loved for as long as they last, and it all adds to the local waste stream. Simple, low-waste ideas create a holiday that's memorable in all the right ways.

After the holidays, learn what to do with leftover packaging and unwanted items with our holiday recycling tips.

Holiday Recycling Tips

'Tis the season for sustainable choices! Here's a quick guide on how to recycle your holiday waste:

  • Recycle/Blue Box: clean tin containers, aluminum trays, whipped cream cans, paper cups, plastic cutlery, plastic deli trays and tops (coloured or clear)
  • Recycle/Blue Bag: paper gift wrap (no foil or holographic images), flattened cardboard
  • Compost/Green Bin: paper plates, napkins and food scraps
  • Return to depot: refundable beverage containers (don't forget the eggnog cartons!), wine boxes and bags, Styrofoam, plastic bags, batteries, chip bags and string lights

All materials can be brought to the Hartland Depot, or you can search for the item on to find a list of alternate drop-off locations.

Christmas Tree Chipping Events

Wondering what to do with your natural Christmas tree after the holidays? Bring it to a tree chipping event. 

Before taking your tree to a chipping event, make sure you’ve removed all the decorations as anything left on the tree can be hazardous to the chipping equipment. Missed the events?  You can find a list of year-round drop-off locations here.

Curbside Blue Box Recycling

  • Winter Weather – Hold on to your recyclables until your next collection day should service be affected by unsafe road conditions.
  • Get Reminders – Never miss a collection day by signing up for reminders and service alerts Blue Box Schedules & App.

DIY Decor

Infuse your home with the warmth and authenticity of DIY decor. Explore creative avenues with natural and repurposed materials available in your home.

  • Borrow from nature: Many decorations can be found by looking no further than your back yard. Pinecones, branches, leaves, and twigs can all be used as decorations. Try using the greenery in nature to make your wreath or centerpiece this year. It’s easy, waste free, and smells good too!
  • DIY Garland: Use recycled giftwrap or dried orange slices to create a beautiful garland.
  • Turn old toys into ornaments: Transform old toys into nostalgic Christmas tree decorations. Ask your family to help pick out which toys to use.
  • Be kind to your Christmas decorations: Store decorations carefully and you'll be able to use them year on year – meaning less waste going to landfill and reducing your need to buy new stuff. You can use shredded wrapping paper or packaging from new toys or gadgets to protect delicate items.

If you need to buy new decorations, buy reusable ones that last for years and keep unnecessary waste out of the landfill.

Green Gifts

Celebrate the season with less waste by giving experiences or gifts that are made to last.

  • Experiential gifts: Gift a membership or subscription to a service they enjoy, a gift card to a local restaurant, tickets to the museum or Butchart Gardens, or take them for a hike in one of our spectacular regional parks.
  • Homemade gifts: Because who doesn't love a homemade gift? Examples include preserves, cookies, a knitted toque, bath salts or a painting.
  • Gift your time or services: Offer to baby/pet-sit, take a few family photos or cook a meal for them.
  • Gifts that are made to last: Long-lived items such as heirlooms, quality camping gear or cookware.
  • Low-waste gifts: Assist them in reducing waste with gifts like reusable to-go cutlery or containers, beeswax wraps or cloth napkins.
  • Second-hand gifts: Peruse online classified ads and local thrift or vintage stores for gifts.

Sustainable Wrapping

Rethink your approach to gift wrapping by breaking free from the conventional gift wrap/tape/bow combo.

  • Use materials you already have at home: Newspaper (especially the comics section), paper bags, old calendar pages, old book pages or maps.
  • Reuse old gift wrap/gift bags: Instead of recycling old wrapping paper and gift bags, hang on to them and reuse them the next season.
  • Wrap your gift with another gift: A sweater can double as a gift and be used as an alternative to wrapping paper. Or if you're wrapping a kitchen or food-themed gift, use a pretty tea towel.

Green New Years Resolutions

Big changes are made up of little actions, and achieving our regional targets around reducing waste, water and energy use are only possible if we all do our part. Whether your goals involve improving your lifestyle, learning new things, or saving money, there are simple ways to accomplish these goals while also reducing our environmental impact.

Here are some simple ways to meet your goals and reduce environmental impact this 2024!

  1. Rediscover the value of food: Save money and reduce food waste by making a meal plan, shopping in your fridge and pantry first (to avoid buying doubles) and buying only what you know you’ll use. Bonus tip: meal planning can also help reduce those impulse purchases!
  2. Reduce, reuse, then recycle: Reduce the use of single-use items — carry a reusable mug or water bottle, reusable bags, pack a lunch in reusable containers, etc. If you have an item you no longer want, see if it can be donated or reused. If it’s broken, see if it can be repaired before recycling it or throwing it out.
  3. Test your recycling knowledge: Find out if you’re recycling all that you can with our waste sorting game Ready, Set, Sort!, also available on the free RecycleCRD app. Once you know what goes where, it’ll be much easier to keep your house clutter-free! Common household items like batteries, lightbulbs, paint, and flexible plastics (e.g. chip bags and crinkly wrappers) can be dropped off free of charge at many locations, including the Hartland Depot. Find a drop-off near you at
  4. Go paperless: Forgo the printed copy of your recycling schedule this year without missing collection day by signing up for recycling reminders or downloading the free RecycleCRD app.
  5. Switch to LED bulbs: Reduce how much energy you use by making the switch to LED lightbulbs. LEDs use 75% less energy than a regular incandescent bulb, save you money on your electricity bill, and they also last much longer. Once you’ve made the switch, don’t forget to recycle the old bulbs!
  6. Take out a Climate Action To-Go Kit from your local libraryThese free kits contain tools and activities to help you take action on climate change at home, like discovering air leaks or measuring how much electricity your appliances use. Peek inside the kit with this unboxing video from the Greater Victoria Public Library.
  7. Ditch the car one day a week: Driving gas vehicles is our region's greatest source of carbon pollution. Choosing to walk, bike or take transit to your destination is beneficial for your health, and helps fight climate change.
  8. Save water at home: By striving for five-minute showers, checking your toilets for leaks once per year, and only running full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, you can help save water at home. Reducing water waste not only helps conserve our region's water supply — it’ll also save you money.
  9. Clean green: Many household cleaners are hard on the environment and when they go down the drain, they can end up in the ocean or in groundwater. This year, why not learn to make your own cleaning products? Find recipes for environmentally-safe and inexpensive alternatives in the Clean Green Cookbook.
  10. Manage rainwater and runoff: Help reduce pollution and impacts from flooding by reducing the amount of rainwater flowing from your property into storm drains. Consider installing a properly designed rain barrel or rain garden or replacing impervious surfaces on your property with more pervious ones (e.g. grass, gravel).
  11. Support biodiversity in your backyard: Supporting biodiversity benefits us all and you can help by planting native plants in your yard or on your balcony, keeping a fresh source of water outside (e.g. dish, bird bath) and leaving brush piles, sticks, and leaves in your garden to create wildlife shelter.
  12. Join a stewardship group: Help clean, protect and enhance local natural areas by volunteering with a stewardship group in your community to remove invasive species, plant native plants or do a beach cleanup.

Making a difference is just that easy — pick a resolution or two and let’s get started!



Check out Metro Vancouver's website for more on how to celebrate with less waste this season.

  • Merry Memory Maker - gift ideas by price range
  • Wrap wise - simple, eco-friendly ways to cut down on wrapping waste
  • Decorating - ideas for reusing items and borrowing from nature
  • Food - shopping and prep to entertaining with less waste
  • After Christmas - once holidays are over, reduce, reuse, recycle

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