Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls are two of our all-time Holiday favourite carols! Both songs seem to be synonymous with winter and the Holiday season.

With holiday parties and gift exchanges in full swing, Urban Impact would like to share a few tips and reminders for recycling and diverting holiday waste while still enjoying Holiday lights, decorating and gifting.

Holiday Lights

Hanging lights is a wonderful and festive way to brighten your home and office, especially on dark and stormy days. Most Holiday lights come on strings. Because they plug in, broken Holiday lights are considered electronic waste. 

Any broken or unwanted lights, Holiday or otherwise, that is on a string should not be put in a blue recycle box. Stringy items like lights, cords and ropes will get caught up in the recycling equipment at your local facility, leading to potential health and safety risks for plant workers.

To properly disposal of lights, many places of business have bins or receptacles for electronic waste. Ask your employer if you can dispose of your lights in the bin at work.  If that is not doable, please take your unused or broken Holiday lights to a local recycling depot. 

Community idea:  Organize a community or neighbourhood recycling light drive. Pick a day to gather unwanted or broken lights. Ask for a donation that can support a local charity.

Wrap it up!

The thrill of opening a wrapped gift is definitely a big part of the Holiday experience.  New rolls of paper can be costly to make and buy. Our favouite way to a wrap gift is in a reusable bag – two gifts in one!  Another fun idea is to wrap gifts in mix and match paper scraps or cut up paper brown bags and color them. A little creativity with reusable items can make a gift look super cool!

Gifting Time and Experiences

While it might be a harder sell for some kiddos, try giving your family members an experience.  Spending time doing a fun adventure that creates a lasting memory is a great way to reduce waste. Be creative!

Some ideas for an experience: Take a trip up Grouse Mountain or walk along with waterfront with a cup of hot cider, or find interesting places for taking Instgrammable pictures.


Buying decorations is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit! If you are thinking of doing a Holiday decor refresh, consider donating your unwanted Holiday decorating items to a local thrift store and while you are there, consider refreshing your supply with other gently used items.

There are several local communities that seem to specialize in used or like new Christmas ornaments and items. We found Facebook Marketplace is full of wonderful slightly used items.  Or try shopping at the Vancouver Christmas Market to support local artisans.

The Holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with loved ones, family and your community.  Whichever holiday you celebrate and whatever traditions your family enjoys, we encourage you to consider employing some reuse and reduction initiatives to make your holidays waste free.