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Create Memories, Not Garbage

The holiday season brings traditions, family, fun and unexpected surprises, but often it can also mean more waste being sent to the landfill. 

Tips for Tackling Holiday Waste

We asked Lethbridge residents for some ideas on how they reduce waste while they shop or prepare for festivities. Here are some of the ideas that were sent to us:

Gift Wrap

Fabric gift bags or fabric wrapping. Your friends and family will love unique (and reusable) gift wrapping. Check out our gift wrap suggestion video, click here.

Newspaper, magazines and old maps all make fun gift wrap.

Brown paper bags or brown paper are a great blank canvas to decorate with paint or markers. Plain brown paper, unlike regular wrapping paper, is recyclable.


Home-made decorations for the tree. Decorations can even be made from materials you can compost when you're done. For an idea to get started, click here

Old toys can repurposed into fun decorations for the tree or around the house.

Borrow from nature, pinecones, fallen pin branches, berries can all make festive additions to your home.  


Give a gift that supports protecting wildlife, natural areas, or other environmentally or socially beneficial programs. 

Potted plants or plant a tree in someone's name are great ways to show you care. 

Get a pass for swimming, a concert, or sporting event. Check out what's coming up at the Lethbridge E​nmax Centre​ or other events by clicking here

For more low waste gift ideas, check out these great resources:

Tackling Holiday Food Waste

Did you know, 63% of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten?  Avoid food waste with these helpful tips.

Plan Ahead and Shop Smart. Before going to the grocery store, make a plan of the Holiday meals you’d like to make. Do an inventory check of what you already have at home. Stick to your plan. The grocery store is not the place for wishful thinking, "Maybe I will bake cookies or maybe I will try this new holiday recipe"... Wishful thinking is a common cause of excessive food waste.

Store it Properly. Optimal Fridge Temperature is between 0-4 degrees and Optimal Freezer Temperature is below 18 degrees C. Keep fridge clean and ensure it is not overcrowded. 

Love your Leftovers. Get Creative! There are many unique and delicious recipes online for using up leftovers. For leftover recipe ideas visit Love Food Hate Waste Canada. Or, trust you foodie instincts and make up your own culinary creations!

Shopping Tips to Reduce Waste

Ask yourself: Will they use this? How long will they use it for? Is it worth the environmental impact?

Buy local when possible.  Try a local community shared agriculture or food box program (your loved one will be treated to regular fresh fruit, veggies and/or meat).

Look for quality over quantity. Items that are made to last are appreciated by the receiver of the gift and do not need to be replaced in the near future.

Look for items with less or no packaging. Place excess cardboard and paper into your blue cart or take the materials to a Lethbridge Recycling Station

When ordering online, look for sustainable shipping.  Avoid the faster two day shipping and request items be sent together when possible. Check out how to properly mange online packaging video, click here.

Click here for more ways to reduce waste year round.

Put Waste in the Right Place!

Although many materials can be recycled Styrofoam and wrapping paper, ribbons and bows are not recyclable. Plastic film (including bubble wrap, air pockets etc.) are not accepted in the blue cart but can be recycled at one of the three recycling stations

Avoid Wish-Cycling; the practice of tossing questionable items in the recycling bin, hoping they can be recycled. As much as we all want to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible, wish-cycling can contaminate actual recyclables, damage equipment or hurt workers at the MRF.  


Getting a real tree this year? Don't let it go to waste once the holidays are done. We will collect your tree and turn it into nutrient-rich mulch.  Find out more about the Christmas Tree Collection.


Not sure how to dispose of an item? 

We're here to help. We have tools to provide you with the information you need: 

Learn the Ins and Outs of our curbside recycling program. 

Check out the Waste & Recycling Centre's list of accepted electronics and appliances. 

Try the Waste Wizard tool to search by item name and learn if it can be recycled and where it should go.

For more information

Report a problem like missed collection or mess in lane
Phone: 311 or 403-320-3111 (if outside of Lethbridge)
Online: Service request options