As the holidays are fast approaching, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. It is also a great time to think about the environment as we enjoy festivities and celebrations with family and friends.
During the holidays, a lot of excess waste ends up in our landfills, including food waste, gift wrapping, plastic packaging, holiday cards and crackers – that is a lot of waste!
Interested in making a few small changes to benefit the planet? Here are a few tips on how we can remember the environment during the holidays:
- Consider buying less – Instead of heading to the mall or shopping online for items, consider gifting loved ones the gift of time, service or doing something meaningful that would help them more than giving them an item they don’t need. Try out an experience like tickets to a show at Meadowvale Theatre or Living Arts Centre, trying out a new activity or class, or a meal at a local restaurant.
- Reuse wrapping paper and bags – Consider an eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper – like old newspaper, or use less tape when wrapping gifts so that, the paper and bags can be saved and reused for another time. Not only will this create less waste, reducing the need for new paper and bags.
- Gift consumable gifts – Who doesn’t love a delicious treat? Try gift alternatives like cookie mixes, a goody basket, hot sauces, coffee or tea, cooking or craft supplies.
- Send eCards instead of mailed cards – While the sentiment might be nice with sending cards through the mail, sending eCards can be a better option for the recipient and the environment!
- Re-gift or make gifts – If you have multiple un-used items like candles, or received gifts that you will never use or open, you can consider re-gifting the item instead of buying something new. Alternatively, try making gifts using eco-friendly or recycled materials, or using things you already have.
- Use LED lights for holiday decoration – Opt for LED lights – if you want to add a little glow to your holiday decor. LED bulbs use significantly less energy and don’t produce as much heat as incandescent bulbs, they burn cooler and are safer to use.
- Avoid fast holiday fashion – While the thought of buying an ugly sweater for a work holiday party sounds fun, opt to borrow a sweater, visit a thrift store or suggest trading sweaters to try something different rather than buying new.
- Consider carpooling or taking transit to events – Whether it’s going to a holiday party or visiting family hours away, you can make plans to carpool or take public transit to get to your destination.
- Consider adding more vegetables or plant-based items into your holiday meal – Think about how we can all make our holiday dinners more sustainable – meat and animal products are a large contributor to climate change.
- Get creative with leftovers or food scraps – Show off your cooking skills. This time of year, vegetables can be turned into warm, comforting soups. Check out some recipes online, learning to cook by checking out a print or digital cookbook from you local Library, take a class using Craftsy or do a recipe swap with friends.
- Consider volunteering – Make some time to volunteer on your own or with family and friend by giving back to the community – contact non-profit organizations like the local food bank.
- Sort your holiday waste properly – Remember, not all packing can go into recycling. If you find you have a lot of holiday waste to sort through, use the Region of Peel’s waste sorting tool to help you figure out where items should go – like plastic packaging.
Try a more environmentally friendly approach to giving gifts to your family, friends, travel and your holiday meal. Taking small actions year-round can make a big difference in making to help Mississauga and the world a more resilient place to live.
Climate Change Actions in Mississauga
The City is working to tackle climate change through actions from the Climate Change Action Plan. The plan outlines actions for the City and community to reduce Mississauga’s greenhouse gas emissions.
You can find out your own personal carbon foot by going to the City’s Project Neutral calculator (https://app.projectneutral.org/mississauga)
As the days continue to get colder, the City is encouraging you to consider heat pumps instead of using a gas furnace, reduce your gas consumption by taking active transportation, MiWay, carpooling or using an electric vehicle and turn down the thermostat.
To learn more about climate change in Mississauga, visit mississauga.ca/services-and-programs/forestry-and-environment/climate-change.