“Tis the most wasteful time of the year”. “Hark the Herald Landfill sing”. “I’m dreaming of a green Christmas”. I could go on with rubbish (here I go again) Christmas puns, however I think you get the message.
At Christmas, Canadians along with much of the Western world, produce a lot more waste than normal, 30-40% more waste actually! Now that amount of waste is only to be expected, with all the extra food, decorations, presents, wrapping paper, trees, cards etc. However, what if we could have the same amazing Christmas experience of giving, receiving and celebrating with a lot less waste produced? Well Metro Vancouver and Urban Impact think we can!
This is the 8th year of Metro Vancouver’s initiative ‘Create Memories, Not Garbage’, a campaign targeting to change Christmas habits for the better, offering advice on how to make the whole Christmas process that much less wasteful. From saving wrapping paper, more sustainable gift ideas or recipes for re-using your turkey for weeks to come, they provide tips and tricks for all aspects of the festive season. The good news is that Metro Vancouver’s holiday waste reduction campaign is working.
We spoke to Larina Lopez, Division Manager of Corporate Communications at Metro Vancouver. Larina commented, “The campaign began in 2010 when studies in waste composition of post Christmas holiday trash showed a lot of ‘single-use purchases.”
More research conducted through focus groups, revealed that peoples ‘best gift ever’ was often an experience or a long-lasting gift. “This isn’t an anti-shopping campaign at all”” added Larina, “we just want to show people they can still have a memorable Christmas by giving experiences or more sustainable gifts that last.” That’s where Metro Vancouver’s “Memory Maker” app comes in. Newly refreshed and improved for 2018, the app has nearly 200 gift ideas, all with price bracketing, to ensure the perfect gift match.
The “Memory Maker” app gives consumers help to choose low-waste gifts and gives examples of what we can all do at Christmas to create some memories and not just buy garbage that’s going to be thrown away in a couple of weeks.
What stands out about the Metro Vancouver Campaign is the deeper message to change the culture of consuming, moving from the short-term viewpoint and instead thinking sustainably and looking towards the longer term. So much of what is produced today is a short-term fix to scratch the itch of capitalist consumerism. In fact, we can improve our gift purchasing and give more meaningfully effectively by producing less waste.
Congrats to Metro Vancouver, and here’s to this Christmas and the holiday season being the least wasteful one yet!