HELP GARBAGE CANS BEAT THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE: HOLIDAY RECYCLING TIPS By Clea Ainsworth 3R Education Co-ordinator, SLRD Few people know that Santa Claus not only keeps track of the naughty and nice, he also knows who recycles. You can help your garbage can beat the battle of the bulge this holiday by getting to know some of the season’s waste reduction basics. A lot of paper waste generated around the holiday season comes from gift wrap. Most gift wrap can be recycled, with the exception of "metallic" looking papers, as well as ribbons and bows. Paper gift wrappings are classified as "mixed paper" and can be recycled at your local recycling depot. But, before you haul used wrappings off to recycle, consider which pieces are reusable for next year. Consider not using traditional wrap at all. Instead, wrap gifts in tea towels or create your own wrapping out of reused paper products. Another source of garbage-can-bulge comes from over packaged goods. Try to buy bulk foods whenever possible and store these goods in sturdy, reusable containers to reduce the burden on the landfill. Single ply cardboard boxes from products like cereal, cookies and crackers are classified as "mixed paper" and can be recycled when the plastic inserts are removed. Be a smart shopper all the way to the check out — bag your groceries with reusable cloth or plastic bags. When buying gifts for your friends and family consider buying items that are high quality and therefore less likely to break or wear quickly. Try to repair broken items as much as possible. If you don’t have the time to repair an item, consider the fact that someone else may want to and donate it to your local charity, thrift store or reuse centre. The best gift to give this year is the gift of recycling. Try crafting your gifts out of recycled materials, give paper making kits and composters. Composting reduces household waste by 30 per cent. If you live in an area where bears are a problem, buy an indoor worm composter for your friends and family. Worm composters are available from the Squamish Compost Demonstration Garden (SCDG) for $50 (call 892-3310 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). The SCDG also has building plans if you want to make your own composter. If you have any questions about composting or recycling The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has a Composting and Recycling Hotline and lots of free recycling information available to Sea-to-Sky Corridor residents. Call 892-3310 or e-mail email@example.com for more information. Battle the bulge this holiday and make an easy, worthwhile New Year’s resolution. Resolve to make your garbage can lose 20 pounds.