Tis the Season To Be Green


Christmas is here, and with it all the extra planning, events and gift exchanges, and that means more clean up. I find it all rather daunting myself, and personally don’t enjoy all the extra garbage generated at this time of year. I plan to up my recycling game this holiday season. Creating an organizational system could be just the ticket to help me manage. Care to join me?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Let’s start by carving out some space where we can place some sorting bins. Somewhere easy to access. 

Next label each box with these categories: 

  1. Curbside Recycling – Paper and hard plastics
  2. Returnables – Sort cans and glass by type, which will speed things up at the depot
  3. Clean Soft Plastics – Soft and crinkle plastic can now be combined together 
  4. Miscellaneous: broken electronics, Christmas lights, light bulbs, batteries and ink cartridges (no toners please) 
  5. Styrofoam (not peanut chips). Our Duncan depot is the only location that takes styrofoam


Recycling as we go will make clean up at the end of the season a breeze and will help keep it out of the landfill. Throw it all in the back of the car and drop it off next time you are near our depots. We are open Tuesdays to Saturdays. 

Making thoughtful and creative choices around gift wrapping also helps to minimize garbage. Choosing reusable materials and getting crafty during the holidays makes good sense when it comes to lessening our impact on the environment.

Here are a few of my favourite ideas for gift wrapping that are also reusable or easily recycled:

  1. Consider using fabric to wrap a gift, which can be then be reused. Cotton bags with draw strings make great option. Explore your local thrift shop and stores for fabric scarves, tea towels or funky pillow cases….even hair scrunches can adorn a present and then be used by the new owner. And if you do use paper, avoid metallic or mixed material types that must go to the landfill. 
  2. Gift tags are a big part of Christmas. Since strings can’t be recycled with the tags, I suggest avoiding those and using paper tags tied with raffia (which is compostable) or fabric ribbons. You could also try  writing directly onto the paper with a fancy festive pen.
  3. Present your food gift in a mason jar. Dress it up with some pretty string, fabric scraps and wild harvested sprigs.
  4. Baskets can be a wonderful way to present a gift. Choose one that ca be repurposed, such as a decorative plant vessel, blanket holder or for toques and mitts. 
  5. Wrap gifts using old maps, calendars, sheet music or brown craft paper, and have some fun embellishing them with stamping, ribbons and greenery.
  6. Present your gift in a artisanal ceramic bowl, and watch how excited your loved one will be to receive it in this way. Try wrapping it all up in a square of fabric, in the Japanese style called Furoshiki. 

With a little bit of planning, we can up our game when it comes to recycling at Christmas. Involve the kids and grandkids and make new memories together while teaching them about recycling and sustainability. getting creative together is fun.

From all of us at Island Return It, have a peaceful and joyful holiday season.