Twelve ways to a greener Christmas

By Contributor
December 17th, 2011

Want to inspire your true love with earth-friendly gift ideas? Do you already have a partridge in a pear tree or seven swans a swimming? This holiday season – try giving the gift of green with these hints from the Ministry of Environment: 

  1. If you get a small appliance for the holidays, don’t forget to recycle the old one because as of Oct. 1, 2011, that’s now an option in B.C.
  2. Take time over the holidays to send clothing, toys, footwear and furniture to a local thrift shop or food bank where it will be reused;
  3. Donate beverage container-recycling refunds to the charity of a loved one’s choice;
  4. Buy gifts with little or no excessive packaging and carry gifts home in reusable canvas bags;
  5. Wrap your gifts in recyclable wrapping paper and recycle all packaging and paper after Christmas – either reuse or put in your bin for collection;
  6. Consider joining other family members or perhaps work with a community group to sponsor a BC Parks’ limited-edition bench as part of its 100 park benches for 100 years of provincial parks program – a lasting legacy for Christmas;
  7. If you burn firewood, make sure you burn properly. Burn only clean, dry wood and never burn green, wet, painted or treated wood – including plywood. Check to see of your community has a wood stove exchange program
  8. If a new car is on your list for Santa – consider a clean energy vehicle (CEV) – rebates are now available;
  9. Now’s the time to trade in that tired old gas-guzzler for a transit pass, a new bike or even a new CEV and give a gift to the environment of fewer GHG emissions. New funding from the Province for the BC SCRAP-IT Program means you can part with your costly clunker in favour of greener and cleaner transportation;
  10. Try leaving the car at home as much as possible and use public transit over the holidays – your gift to the environment;
  11. Use LED lights on your tree and house to reduce your energy consumption and turn them off during the day;
  12. Are you wondering what to do with your Christmas tree after holidays? Recycle it by taking it to a tree-chipping event in your community.  

Quick Facts:

  • Each year Canadians generate a whopping 545,000 tonnes of waste from gift wrapping and shopping bags, and a good portion of that is generated at Christmas;
  • An aluminum can takes 500 years to disintegrate, but approximately 1.4 million containers are diverted from B.C. landfills each year;
  • A tin can takes 100 years to dissolve;
  • Paper takes 80 years to break down;
  • Plastic takes 1 million years to break down;
  • B.C. has almost 1,000 parks and protected areas, offering amenities including: more than 340 campgrounds; 118 boat launches; 263 day-use areas; nearly 7,000 kilometres of trails;
  • There are more than 13 qualifying Clean Energy Vehicles to choose from when looking at that new car;
  • The BC SCRAP-IT program has scrapped over 30,000 vehicles and reduced about 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases since the program started.

Learn More:   Learn more about air quality in your community: http://www.bcairquality.ca/ Find out more about the Scrap-It program at: http://www.scrapit.ca/ Find out what you can recycle and where at: http://rcbc.bc.ca/

Find out more about BC Parks 100 benches and other bench stories at: www.bcparkbench.ca 

Categories: GeneralPolitics