Canada united in the achievement of zero waste, now and for future generations

Create Memories

Planning a waste reduction campaign this holiday season? Consider using Metro Vancouver's "Create memories, not garbage" campaign artwork and videos – free, proven, ready to use.


Show that traditions can be upheld while reducing the garbage we generate.


Use humour or unusual twists to model the desired behaviour – giving gifts of time, experiences or long-lasting gifts. Models are identified as 'green angels' as they created less waste with their gift choices.


Post-campaign surveys confirmed that, among the general public, awareness of the campaign has grown each year so that in January 2013, 50% of residents recalled the campaign. Of those who recalled it, 40% said the advertisements influenced the types of gifts they gave.

The majority of respondents found the outdoor advertising to be effective in making them think about the types of gifts they give; a total of 70% rated the print ads as very or somewhat effective (compared to 57% in 2013), and 71% found the TV ad to be effective (64% in 2013).

Anecdotal feedback from an array of sources including municipal staff as well as emails and comments from the public, confirms the campaign is memorable and well-liked throughout the region. Additionally, comments have indicated that the commercials (appearing on television and online) are most memorable.

In addition, garbage volumes received at our transfer stations have decreased immediately after Christmas since 2011, though a variety of factors could be contributing to this trend.


We started this campaign in 2011 to shift the "ask" from recycling to reducing, building on our experience each holiday season. Early focus groups showed residents liked the campaign concept and wanted to see positive messages at Christmas time.

Metro Vancouver shares the campaign with our 21 member municipalities and beyond. It was rebranded and also used in other regional districts across British Columbia, including the Capital Regional District (Victoria), Powell River Regional District, Cariboo Regional District, Regional District of Nanaimo, and Regional District of Central Okanagan.


Concepts included in the campaign:

  • are positive, and have a humorous tone;
  • reach a broad audience;
  • reflect our region's diverse residents;
  • cover a range of gift-giving budgets;
  • encourage shopping with a low-waste result; and
  • suggest zero-waste experiences as well as tangible, high-quality gifts that last.

Campaign elements

  1. Transit advertising – rapid transit posters and wall murals, bus exteriors and interiors, bus shelters, train stations.
  2. Mall digital ads - focused on the tangible gifts that can be purchased in a mall.
  3. Online advertising - YouTube ads, Facebook ads, and targeted websites as pre-roll and banner ads.
  4. Television commercials - including PSAs. 
  5. A ​half-hour Christmas television special produced in collaboration with the long running storytelling event 'The Flame'.
  6. Radio commercials on various local stations.
  7. Social media – #GreenAngel hash tag (you'll notice it in the artwork).
  8. Decals and posters – shared member municipalities for use at City Halls, Libraries, Community Centres, etc.
  9. Opportunities for earned media.​​




For example: a wooden balance bike is a high quality gift that can be resold or passed forward after a child outgrows it; dog walking is an inexpensive gift of time that can fit any budget; and ballet/circus lessons are experiences available through many community centres.


How to use the campaign

For more information and to see how these creative files were used 'in real life' email our team at

Request the files

Contact us to request artwork files (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, fonts and images).​