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5 Tips for Reducing Waste at Holiday Parties

Many of us are looking forward to holiday office parties! A great time of year to relax and celebrate with your coworkers, it’s full of many traditions and fun! If you are interested in creating some new and sustainable traditions, here are five great tips.

1. Think Compostable and Reusable

It’s tempting to keep clean-up to a minimum by opting for disposable, but there are many options available now that will help you avoid plastic. Skipping the bottled water is a great one, but so is compostable cutlery and plates. Look for truly compostable stuff you can put in the organics bin, not biodegradable plastic that needs to be put through a special process. If you have a bit of a budget to work with, consider renting party supplies, which you get to send back dirty. If you can coordinate pick-up and drop-off that can save $$.

2. Keep Food Local

When shopping for caterers or hitting the local shops for nibblies, look for food and drinks that are grown and/or made in Eastern Canada, better yet Southern Ontario! This reduces fuel usage, greenhouse gas emissions and food waste by transporting it all smaller distances. BONUS: it supports the local food industry.

3. Disrupt Gift Traditions

Games like Secret Santa or Mystery Grab Bags can be a lot of fun. Because they usually have a low spending limit, and gifts are often for people we don’t really know, the gifts tend to be silly and there’s a big risk they’ll never get used = waste. Why not change the gift game to something that doesn’t generate waste? Try making this year’s guideline that the gift has to be an experience or even something previously-owned, or collect the money that each would have spent for a charity. What ideas can you come up with?

4. Rethink Gift Wrapping

Did you know that most wrapping paper contains plastic and is not recyclable? Most don’t and it ends up contaminating paper recycling. This year try something different: reuse wrapping paper, look for plain paper that is recyclable or even better: use a cloth or reusable gift bag instead.

5. Public Transit and Ride-Share

The day of the party, plan to take the TTC home, arrange to share a ride with a friend or simply call a ride-share service. Not only does it reduce our footprint, it makes for safer travel when people are celebrating.

A few small changes can make office parties a lot easier on the environment.

With a little planning and getting others on board, you can make a big difference. If your party is here at the building, please download from the bottom of this page, print and stick-up these 720 waste program posters to eliminate confusion and help everyone better manage waste.