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Friday, 01 December 2017 13:26

Helen Schuler Nature Centre keeping gift-givers green

Written by  Demi Knight
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With Christmas on the horizon, and the season of gifts galore is fast approaching, this December the Helen Schuler Nature Centre is focusing in one of the over-looked issues that this joyous time brings.

On Dec. 9, 10 and 12, the organization is hosting a drop-in gift-wrapping party to teach people how to use up-cycled and reusable materials to wrap their presents and save on waste this holiday season.
“This event focuses on both reducing consumption of material goods by promoting the “Create Memories, Not Garbage” campaign, and reducing the use of disposable gift-wrapping materials by offering re-usable alternatives” says Helen Schuler Nature Centre Facility Rental Coordinator Anita LeBaron. “This is a great event because it showcases how easy it is to make simple changes that have the potential to create a large impact.”
Each day from 1-4 p.m. during the three-day long December event, community members are encouraged to join the Helen Schuler Nature Centre in making Christmas greener this year. With a $2 donation per gift, the facility provides these eco-friendly materials to all participants as well as hot apple cider and cocoa.
With aims to shine a light on the overuse of plastic and paper waste at this festive time, HSNC officials hope hosting a fun outing for residents to get together and learn new ways of being friendly to the planet will help lower the city’s overall waste throughout the holiday season, whilst also creating an awareness of eco-friendly behaviour throughout the rest of the year as well.   
“It is important to be aware of the waste we produce because most of the materials used to manufacture the products we consume come from nature and are finite resources, or resources that are slow to replenish,” says LeBaron on why the HSNC decided to hold the event for the first time this year.
With over 1.2 billion pounds of waste being generated within Canada alone from gift-wrapping and shopping bags each year and the city of Lethbridge being a main contributor to this waste by producing more waste per person than both the provincial and national average, the organization felt something could be done to help the city become more aware of the growing issue.
The Centre also hopes by highlighting the excess waste issues the city provides, that they can create a better understanding within the community of how these high volumes of waste are produced, explains LeBaron.
“When we think of waste, most people think of the products we use and discard. What people don’t recognize is the volume of resources used and waste produced along the entire chain of production, from extraction and manufacturing, to transportation and consumption.”
The gift-wrapping party, will offer all participants the opportunity to practise eco-friendly wrapping techniques that in return can help lower the city’s waste over the holidays. In fact, the HSNC also stresses that if this knowledge was accepted nation wide, and everyone within Canada were to wrap just three presents in the reused paper or gift bags like the ones that will be presented at the event, then enough paper would be saved throughout the country to cover forty-five thousand hockey rinks. During the event, the HSNC will also spend some time offering tips to participants that they could follow throughout the remainder of the year to be more waste conscious, says LeBaron.
“Remember the 4 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” she explains. “Refusing material goods is the best way to reduce your waste. You can’t waste what you don’t have. Reducing consumption is the next best thing. Think about giving experiential gifts rather than material ones, or limiting the number of gifts each family member receives. Re-using items eliminates the need to purchase new ones, which saves a lot of energy and resources required in the chain of production – not to mention the money you save by not buying new.  Lastly, recycle what you cannot re-use.”

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