Students share ideas to reduce holiday waste

22 December 2022

Grade seven students at École élémentaire John G. Diefenbaker Elementary School rallied into teams to generate creative ideas for reducing waste, developed presentations to share examples and photos with their classmates, and then posted their ideas on Richmond’s Holiday Waste Think Tank.

“It takes all of us working together to make significant progress towards reducing our waste and implementing more sustainable options. The impressive ideas shared by these students feature some excellent steps we can take over the holidays,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “My thanks go to the students, their teacher Ms. Setareh Foroushani and all of the community members who participated in the Holiday Waste Think Tank.”

The students contributed nearly a third of the total ideas shared to reduce waste when gathering, gifting, eating, and decorating during the holidays. Their suggestions included giving online gifts such as e-gift-cards to stores or popular online games, giving experiences rather than presents, baking desserts as gifts, hosting virtual parties, sharing Christmas decorations and even examples of homemade wrapping ideas such as decorative scrap paper boxes.

The ideas shared by the students and the additional 118 ideas shared by other community members will be summarized and posted on the Community Ideas Hub at The Ideas Hub is a resource to help residents reduce, reuse and repurpose household items to support a circular economy and sustainable waste management.

The Holiday Waste Think Tank on collected ideas from November 12 to December 14, 2022. Participants were invited to share ideas that can be applied over the holidays, such as reducing the amount of gift wrap used, reducing food waste, giving gifts that do not involve packaging and creative craft ideas to repurpose used materials like textiles into new gifts.

The recent holiday version of the Think Tank builds on the community input shared in the first Rethink Waste Think Tank initiative that took place in September/October 2021. With the ideas from the Think Tank, the City created the Community Ideas Hub on its website to feature tips and ideas in five categories: reducing food waste, reducing single-use items, rethinking and repurposing items, repairing household items and ways to donate, sell, trade and share items. The holiday waste tips will be a new category.

The City’s rethink waste initiatives are focused on changing habits to help avoid unnecessary waste and reduce reliance on raw materials. Ultimately, it is about shifting to a circular economy, where materials stay in circulation to be used, reused or repaired, and recycled multiple times into new products.