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Rethink Waste

Reduce your Holiday Waste
Aim for a Zero-Waste Holiday!

‘Tis the season to redesign gift giving and reduce our waste! Here are some ideas for reducing your holiday waste and contributing to a circular economy.

If you’re not sure about how to dispose of an item, search it with the Where Does it Go? lookup tool. Your diversion efforts play a valuable role in extending the life of our landfill and creating a more sustainable community for us all.

Buying Gifts

Give the gift of a greener Barrie. Aim to buy gifts that have no packaging, or that have packaging that can be recycled. Consider buying used gifts to keep items in circulation.

Food scraps

We all know the holidays are a time for over-eating. From turkey and stuffing to your great aunt’s famous fruit cake, there tends to be a glorious spread of goodies to go around. As much as we try to eat it all, there always seems to be some scraps left behind. Don’t fill your garbage can with these scraps; all food scraps should be put into the green (organics) bin. You’ll be surprised how little garbage you create if you use your green bin properly!

Wrapping paper

Reuse last year’s wrapping paper, use newspapers that you’ve decorated yourself, or give a gift wrapped in holiday tea towels! Be sure to look at the recycled content before purchasing gift wrap or greeting cards. Avoid using metallic wrapping paper or excessive amounts of tape; metallic wrapping paper is not recyclable in Barrie’s curbside collection program. When you open your presents, set a box aside to collect reusable ribbons, bows and other package decorations, and put this year's cards away to use as gift tags next year. Have a recycling box ready for wrapping paper, or use the (non-metallic) paper to wrap your kitchen organics. 

Electronics & Batteries

Make room for your new gifts and recycle your old electronics for free at the landfill. If your gift requires batteries, consider buying rechargeable ones (and a charger); rechargeable batteries can save you money in the future and will reduce the amount of batteries that end up in the landfill. If you do have to dispose of batteries, they cannot be thrown in the garbage. Bring used batteries to the City's Household Hazardous Waste Depot open Saturdays,  9am– 4pm at the landfill site (272 Ferndale Drive North). Disposal at The HHWD is free to all Barrie and Simcoe County residents. Alternatively, visit to search for other drop-off locations.

Christmas Trees

Natural Christmas Trees

Return your Natural Christmas tree to the earth! If you chose a potted Christmas tree this year, take it outside and plant it in your yard to enjoy well after the holidays! If you had a natural Christmas trees place your unornamented tree in your backyard to provide a habitat for wildlife over the winter, or check with local wildlife organizations looking for tree donations. Natural Christmas trees are compostable.

The City provides curbside collection of natural Christmas trees (as yard waste) through ​January (alternatively, take this item to the landfill for composting). Please remove all decorations and the tree stand, and do not place the tree in a plastic bag. Make sure trees are not placed on or buried in a snowbank. 

Artificial Trees

If you're disposing of an artificial tree, first consider donating it to a local charity for reuse. If it's in poor condition, it can be disposed of at the landfill


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