With Christmas just over a week away, here are some tips that will reduce waste in your household this season.

"Typical wrapping paper, the one that's wrapped in foil with shiny things all over it, isn't recyclable," says Colleen Ans, Living Green, Living Well program coordinator at Green Action Centre.

Green Action Centre serves as Manitoba's hub for spreading techniques, offering programs, and general information for people to start living greener lives.

According to Ans, in Canada alone, household waste increases by 25 per cent after the holidays, with approximately 540,000 tons of wrapping paper tossed into the garbage. That is around 100,000 elephants or five CN Towers.

There are ways to reduce waste in your home this Christmas with sustainable wrapping options.

Folks can swap out flashy wrapping paper for brown kraft paper and put their creativity to the test by using other ways to make it look pleasing to the eye. Reusing plastic gift bags is a good alternative as well, store them away until you find another use for them. 

Ans says that she has seen people use old maps, comic books, and newspapers as a way to wrap presents.

Another common tool used during the holiday season is Scotch Tape, there is an alternative for that as well.

"You can tie it [the present] up with things that you have like reusable ribbon or twine. You can make it pretty with some dried flowers, that's one way to really give it a nice rustic look."


Ideas for Green New Year's Resolutions

There are many ways that people can begin their sustainability journey, Ans gives a few examples for those who might be struggling.

She reflects on when she started to go green, saying that she started by not buying bottled water. She would carry her water bottle with her throughout the day wherever she went. To keep herself accountable, if she grew thirsty but forgot her water bottle she would simply not buy any bottled drinks or find a glass cup and fill up from the tap if it were available.

"Same thing goes for plastic bags, just be prepared to refuse single-use items. I'll have my totes and my reusable bags in the trunk of my car or have at least one or two in my purse at all times too. That way, if I do unexpectedly impulse buy something, then I have that option."

Ans says that she also carries reusable cutlery with her, that way she can refuse plastic cutlery if she decides to eat out. She also mentions refusing plastic straws if someone has a reusable one with them.

No matter what you do, how big, or often you do something that is good for the earth, Ans says that it all matters. People need to work towards creating habits and that does not happen overnight. 

"If you're able to do a couple [of things] and get crafty however you like, then just be happy and be proud of yourself for that."