Post-Christmas recycling madness

For the most part, I think that the cities around various Canadian parts have committed to the recycling effort. Whether stuff actually get recycled once the blue bins are collected and emptied by the trucks I am not sure, but I tend to want to believe that yes, the effort is there.

We all want to reduce the amount of garbage we consume. No other time during the year is this more evident than post-Christmas.

Despite the fact that we recycle every item in our home as indicated in the handy calendar the City of Toronto issues every year, my recycling bin is still usually at least half-full. And I fully admit that I do not shop specifically with the packaging of items in mind.

Having said that, I am AWARE of the packaging situation. Most items we purchase have way too much packaging around it, and despite that, we tend to still pick it up. Be it price, be it convenience, sometimes you just need to get the shopping done now and not hours later after spending quality time assessing packaging.

Not to mention the fact that many of us have at some point had some marketing education. We might not agree with the amount of packaging that a certain item has, yet at the same time we understand that display plays a factor in how an item is packaged. Sometimes it’s something as simple as preventing shoplifting. Sometimes it’s about esthetics.

Sunday afternoon I spent an enormous amount of time in the kids’ room. They share a small room and all of the Christmas presents were placed in there over the course of the last couple of weeks. Some still in their original boxes (lego comes to mind), some unpacked. The unpacked stuff is worse because you have the toy AND the empty box cluttering up the room.

School starts tomorrow. I need some sort of organization in place prior to the busy week of homework and activities, indoor playdates and playtime. Some sort of system where the kid can find the toy without having to ask me for help every single time they want something.

Mom I want that thing on the high shelf.

Mom I can’t reach this thingy.

Mommy where did you put my blahdiblah and the thingamagig I got for Xmas?


So I did what I had to do. I waited for the family to vacate the premises, and purged to my heart’s content. Unfortunately, very little went out the door…except a gigantic amount of art work and crafts (but I did take pictures of all the stuff so I can digitally keep it, in case they come and accuse me of throwing stuff out just because they can’t find something).

It was the packaging that had me in tears. For example, Sonja received a hair-band kit, with several different coloured hair bands, and associated accessories that she can use to pretty up each hair band. By the time I emptied the gigantic box of its contents and placed them in a medium-sized zippered bag, I was astonished at the amount of WASTE I had just produced. Sure, cardboard boxes can go in the recycling bin, but still…that was a large amount of space that took up room which just wasn’t necessary.

I think about how a shipment of these identical boxes in a truck take up truck space. If the packaging had been condensed some, perhaps more of the boxes could have fit in the truck, and the truck would have been able to make the deliveries in one trip as opposed to two (consider the amount of gas alone it would take to make two trips instead of one).

I realize I’m simplifying things. There’s the whole stacking the toys on the store shelve thing, the pretty package the box will make once wrapped in colourful paper, the generous and annoying advertising on the box…

Yet here we are. My bin was emptied a few days ago, and it’s 75% full from one afternoon of purging. With mostly paper and cardboard.


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3 thoughts on “Post-Christmas recycling madness

  1. Hey, our youngest got that same hairband set! And (no surprise here) I had exactly the same reaction! We now have the hairbands and decorations in a tiny little ziploc bag – and a huge box for the recycling. It was definitely the biggest packaging-to-stuff alarm that fired in my brain over the holidays. GAH.

  2. The question is, why do we continue to buy these things. I don’t purchase perfume or a large amount of cosmetics, personally, but if you ever walk through a department store cosmetic section you can see the forest that was destroyed for the packaging. Valentine’s day is around the corner….so is Easter. It never ends. Yet we still pick up the stuff…it’s amazing (and so unfortunate).

  3. Pingback: Why I shop at stores that annoy me | Javaline

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