By Blair Trelinski
The holidays might be over, but those heartfelt gifts that missed the mark are still around. Here are a few suggestions for how to get rid of that sweater from fashion-backward Aunt Gertrude, or the sombrero from your Secret Santa, in an environmentally sound manner.
1) Host a Re-Gifting Party. Invite a few friends over to bring along any unwanted gifts to swap over holiday leftovers. Who knows, maybe your friend Sara would love to have a complete Backstreet Boys plate-set? Either way, this can be a great way to see friends after the holidays, get rid of some extra gifts you’ll never use, and maybe pick up something you never knew you wanted.
2) Donate to a Charity. You might not be excited about having a 6 foot light-up neon arrow, but someone out there would love to have it. Consider donating unwanted gifts rather than throwing them away to languish in a landfill.
3) Re-Gift it! Straight-up re-gift that beautiful vegan cookbook your cousin has given you three years in a row. If you know that someone will enjoy a gift way more than you will, where is the harm in passing it along?
4) Recycle Old Electronics. The holidays often result in a lot of technology upgrades. Rather than tossing your old game station in the trash, contact your local Ecocentres for e-cycling locations and details.
5) Reuse or recycle your gift wrap. Gift wrap is one of the largest sources of holiday waste, but in most cases can be recycled — just make sure the paper is free of tape and is not metallic. Another option is to choose something reusable, such as gift bags. You can also purchase recyclable wrapping paper, or get creative with newspaper or creating your own holiday prints on butcher’s paper!
To read more on the topic of greening the holidays, check out these tips from Environment Canada: http://www.ec.gc.ca/biosphere/default.asp?lang=En&n=376E531F-1