• The Facts:A tremendous amount of waste is created every year during the Christmas season.
  • Reflect On:What is the meaning of Christmas to you? Are gifts the most important part or are you just following along with what has been ingrained in our consumer-driven society?

Ahhh it’s that time of year again — everywhere you look decorations, shiny lights, Christmas trees and of course, mass consumerism. Yes, it’s me again, some call me Scrooge, I’m here to bust through the notion that Christmas is not Christmas without presents. Because in all honesty, take away the presents and what are we left with? You’re right, it’s not nothing it’s something deeper and more meaningful than material goods; it’s love, connection and family, but it’s also important to recognize that for many it’s a time of grief sorrow and despair, with or without presents. I hate to break it to you, but…

It’ the most wasteful time of the year.

Zero Waste Canada, a Vancouver-based advocacy group, estimates each Canadian tosses about 50 kilograms of garbage over the holidays, 25 per cent more than the rest of the year, thanks to the purchase of 3,000 tonnes of foil, 2.6 billion Christmas cards and six millions rolls of tape.

Altogether, 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper and gift bags are thrown out each year and many unwanted gifts will be packed into cupboards.

Because of this, many families are attempting to lighten their load, combat clutter and make the holidays much less stressful by cutting out presents completely and opting for experiences, homemade baking and virtual gifts.

Richard Clapman, who works on the Waste and Resource Action Program (WRAP) explains how the younger generations are having an “awakening” in regards to how they feel about the environment and why it may be important to shift away from conventional gift-giving.

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