Let's Talk Trash: Gifting the planet

Landfills are probably not on your holiday gift list, but you just may end up adding to the rubbish heap after the unwrapping is done.

Dollar stores and online shopping carts are filled with hilarious gag gifts that make us giggle for a moment and groan forever afterward. Does anyone really need a belly-button lint cleaner, singing trout or reindeer antlers for their dog? And what about all that superfluous packaging these chintzy items often come in?

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Even when gifts are more practical, they can come with a lot more waste and a lot less substance than we bargained for. We all know tools, electronics and clothing are not made the way they used to be.

Planned obsolescence guarantees you will soon need to be heading back to the store for an upgrade, to replace a cracked device or to keep up to date with fashion trends.

A little creative thinking can still allow you to show friends and family you care about them and the earth.

• Regift something you have never used but someone else will love.

• Make something from scratch. Baked goods and handmade toys are always a big hit. Gluten-free and dairy-free friends might be particularly happy to receive a treat catered to them.

• Gift something that promotes zero waste, such as a water bottle, travel mug, stainless-steel straw or shopping basket.

• When buying something new, ensure it is of high quality, repairable and recyclable at the end of its life.

• Check out the letstalktrash.ca holiday guide section for zero-waste gift wrapping ideas.

Maybe it is time to think outside a box of any kind and go for less tangible, but more meaning-filled presents.

• Gift experiences rather than things, such as a yoga pass, movie gift certificate, day of fun in the snow or music lessons.

• Time is the most valuable gift we have. Offer to walk your friend’s dog, babysit or fix something for a loved one.

• Donate to a charity on behalf of a friend.

• How about giving Santa’s sleigh a permanent holiday by choosing to count all the gifts you and your family already have, such as clean drinking water, a warm place to sleep and all forms of entertainment?

While there is no need to be a grinch and avoid all holiday festivities, trashing the planet is not a gift to anyone.

Let’s Talk Trash is Powell River Regional District’s waste-management education program.

Copyright © 2017 Powell River Peak

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