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How to Encourage Residents to Recycle Right This Canadian Thanksgiving

shutterstock_396142960_S.jpgReaching out to residents about your recycling program is important all year-round. But when you consider that the volume of Canadian household waste increases by up to 45 % between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (an average of 110 pounds of garbage per person), it might be wise to send out some recycling tips to re-inspire residents before this specific window of time. Holiday specific tips will help your residents recycle right amidst the chaos of the holiday season, and prevent the potential lingering effect of extra tons of material travelling to your local landfill.

To help you educate your residents to recycle right this Canadian Thanksgiving, here is a list of encouragements to provide:

  1. Provide green Thanksgiving dinner tips 
  • Shop smart for your family gathering
    • Use reusable bags at the grocery store
    • Buy in bulk. Buying a big bottle of juice for example (instead of individually packaged smaller cartons) is a good way to cut down on the amount of material you will need to recycle
  • Plan ahead
    • If your party is big, have a designated Recycle Bin for guests. Use the planet pals free recycle signs to help direct your guests to the recycling bin.
  • Practice portion control for your guests. By planning these portions ahead of time, you will find that you have less leftovers and also less food waste. Use Less Stuff created this crafty list with approximate per person food portions:
    • Turkey- 1 pound
    • Stuffing- ¼ pound
    • Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound
    • Green beans- ¼ pound
    • Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons
    • Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9-inch pie
  • Decorate with recycled natural material like tree branches and berries. Fill tall vases with berries, bush stems or tree branches. Make beautiful autumn baskets with any natural materials you can get your hands on.
  • Conserve as you cook
    • Invest in a roasting pan (instead of buying cheap, disposable roasting pans)
    • Use the whole vegetable (even the peel!) when making soups and stews. Leaving the skin on vegetables not only saves you time but provides you with loads of amazing nutrients.
  • Use reusable plates, cutlery and napkins. Stay away from disposal dinnerware and try your best to use cloth napkins that you can throw in the washer after your gathering is over.
  • Compost food waste in your backyard and dispose of used cooking oil properly
    • *Let your residents know the proper way to dispose of used cooking oil from deep frying turkey (according to your program’s requirements)
    • Tell residents to compost their food scraps if your municipality has a green bin program. If there isn’t a program like this that exists, encourage them to start their own compost bin in their backyard. They can use this food specific guide and this source for proper composting instructions.
  1. Encourage residents to freeze, re-use or give away leftovers
  • Give guests leftovers to take home
  • Freeze leftover food while fresh
    • On Thanksgiving Day, encourage residents to cube up leftover turkey and package it up into freezer bags. Weeks or months later, they’ll have the freshest leftover possible, ready to be used in a new recipe.
  • Use leftovers in new recipes
    • Encourage residents to make stock with leftover turkey bones before they compost them or provide recipes for them to make use of with other Thanksgiving leftovers. A simple Google search will provide you with hundreds of recipes specifically designed for dealing with leftovers like these. Everyone from Martha Stewart to Time Magazine is writing up on the topic. Supercook, Mealtime Magic and the All Recipe Dinner Spinner are all excellent websites and mobile apps that you can pass onto residents too. Each allows residents to input their leftover ingredients and then outputs a recipe for them to follow using the ingredients they already have.
  • Donate unopened leftovers to the local food bank
  1. Send out information on how to properly dispose of pumpkins and yard waste

Before Thanksgiving, it would also be smart to work in outreach about holiday collection changes or how to properly dispose of other fall related items. Create a specific page on your municipalities website about Thanksgiving collection changes like the City of Madison did or send out a newsletter or e-reminder to residents about how to dispose of yard waste.

Reminder_2.pngTo learn more about e-notifications and reminders read, “How Recycle Coach technology can help raise the recycling IQ of your residents.

These are a list of encouragements you can pass onto residents this Thanksgiving. Which tips are most relevant to help meet the recycling goals of your municipality?