Holiday Waste Reduction Tips

Reduce Holiday Waste

The holidays are a season of joy and giving, but they are also, unfortunately, a season filled with trash. Canadians produce tonnes of waste over the holidays — to be precise, about 50 kilograms per person in the month of December. That’s around 25% higher than the other months of the year.

Want to do your part to reduce holiday waste? Read on to discover tips for reusing and repurposing items in your household this holiday season.


Smart and Sustainable Shopping

  • Make a list before going to the store to help you avoid impulse buys.
  • Give gifts of experience such as movie tickets, a restaurant gift certificate, an adventure or a class.
  • Shop at local markets and stores where products are made closer to home and often have less packaging.
  • Think about renting or borrowing items that you don’t often need, see our Community Resources list.
  • Choose products with less packaging.
  • Remember to take a reusable bag with you to carry your shopping.
  • Purchase products in bulk, rather than single-serve containers. Divide snacks for lunches into reusable containers when you get home.
  • Avoid purchasing disposable items such as plastic cutlery, paper plates and razors.
  • Invest in a set of rechargeable batteries.
  • Purchase LED bulbs, which last for years and can be recycled.
  • Choose clothing made from natural fibres like wool or cotton that tend to last longer than synthetic fabrics like acrylic and nylon.
  • Try to avoid purchasing cheap novelty items and toys that quickly end up in the landfill.
Community Resources

Find local resources for borrowing libraries, thrift stores, repairs, and equipment loans. Community Resources


Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

  • Make your own decorations
  • Recycle cards
  • Use scarves or reuse gift bags for wrapping presents. Create new gift bags from empty cereal boxes.
  • Thrift and upcycle
  • Reuse magazines, and newspapers to wrap presents
  • Help eliminate food waste by using your leftovers to create new meals
Did you know?
  • $607.5 million worth of toys and games were purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2017.
  • $4.9 billion worth of food was purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2017.


Donate and Share

  • If you get new clothes for Christmas, donate your used items to charity or consign them
  • Give the gift of time.
  • Buy an experience that you can share with your friends or family
  • If you are getting a new phone don't forget to recycle or donate your old phone.
Did you know?
  • $464.4 million worth of computers, peripherals, and networking equipment were purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2017
  • $444.7 million — The value of televisions and home audiovisual equipment purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2017.

Valley Waste Fact: In the fiscal year of 2020/2021 82.22 tonnes or 82,220 kgs of electronics were sent for recycling.

Christmas Tree Recycling

Please contact your Town Office for confirmation on collection.

Kentville & Lawrencetown Management Centres - Drop your tree off, free of charge, throughout the month of January.

Berwick - Residents can drop trees off at the Public Works site during regular operating hours or Town staff will pick them up from roadside during January. For more information, call 902-538-8068

Kentville - The Kinsmen Club will collect trees in Kentville on Saturday January 6 as a fundraiser for charity. For details, call 902-678-6937

Middleton - Town residents can drop off trees January 2 - 5 and 8 - 12 from 8:30am - 4:30pm at the site on the west side of Brooklyn Rd. Call the Town for details. 902-825-4841

Wolfville - The Town will collect trees from January 3 - 20, and residents are welcome to set trees at the curb by Monday, January 1, at the earliest. For more information, call 902-542-5767. Trees places at the curb after January 20 will NOT be collected by the Town. For inquiries, call 902-542-5767 option 1

For all other residents:

Curbside - you can cut the tree into 4ft lengths, bundle it and set it out as brush for regular collection, or put it out for Spring Clean-up.

Safety Tips

Knives - When preparing your holiday meals, check your peelings before disposal. Every year knives are accidentally thrown away with food scraps and can be a danger to those receiving the compost. Stay sharp!

Broken Glass - should be put in a box and clearly marked as broken glass for the driver to see.

Candles - can be put in the green cart as long as they are removed from any holders. Please ensure they are out before disposing of them.

Batteries - Some lithium batteries can be flammable. Aim to drop batteries to recycle within six months, ensuring they are bagged or taped. You can use our locator to find the nearest drop-off site. Visit for more information on safely storing and disposing on your batteries. Help keep batteries out of landfills!

Ashes - Ashes put in the green cart can cause a fire. Ashes are generally fine for your backyard compost pile. If you are unable to put ashes in your garden, put ashes outside until they are cold before putting them a clear garbage bag for collection. Do not put ashes in your green cart as they could contain metal pieces or other items.

More Resources

  • If you need additional help with what goes where see our Sorting Guide
  • Need to drop off items to one of our Management Sites visit Locations and Tipping Fees
  • Have some large items but don't have a vehicle to carry them see the list of local Haulers
  • Other information is available on our Resources page



What Goes Where

Holiday Items Disposal Instructions
Ribbon, bows, and string Clear garbage bag or recycle them for wrapping future gifts.
Shiny/Glitter wrapping paper Clear garbage bag of recycle it for wrapping future gifts.
Paper wrapping paper If it is just paper, it can be composted.
Greetings cards Plain paper greeting cards - paper recycling bag. If they have glitter or other decorative materials - clear garbage bag.
Cookie Tins Container recycling blue bag. Here are some ideas for recycling.
Jute string Jute string can be put in your compost
Candy wrappers and snack bags Clear garbage bag or have some fun with some craft ideas.
Gift bags with a coating Clear garbage bag
Clementine boxes (they contain staples) The balsam wood boxes have staples in them so unless you removed them first the box would be put in your clear garbage bag. Here are some ideas to recycle and reuse them.
Christmas lights Clear garbage bag or wait until Spring clean-up.
Holiday Wreaths Remove the wire, and any metal or plastic fastenings first. Decorations or lights that cannot be reused again go in your clear garbage bag, and any natural parts of the wreath which have not been painted, like pine cones, berries, and evergreen branches can be composted.
Christmas Crackers Clear garbage bag
Disposal plates and cutlery Clear garbage bag. Most disposal plates contain plastic. Try to use reusable plates and cutlery to cut down on waste.
Clean Aluminum Foil and Plates Blue recycling bag with containers.
Plastic Mesh Bags Clear garbage bag.
Paper Napkins or Paper Towel Can go in your compost.
Fridge Clean outs If you are clearing out your fridge, please ensure that jars are emptied and cleaned before disposing of them. All packaging is removed before disposing of it. Unopened food that is still good can be donated to the food bank or other charitable organizations.