4 Unbelievable Facts about Holiday Consumption


As the nation scrambles to get ready for the holiday season, millions of Americans will head out to stores to buy gifts, purchase food for meals, and stock up on decorations and wrapping paper to really pull everything together. What many do not realize is that the result of the holiday rush on our landfills and recycling centers is an increase of over twenty-five percent in a five to six-week time span. That increase breaks down to over one million extra tons of waste each holiday season! Check out some of these astonishing facts and figures about the waste produced during the holiday season, and maybe it will help you begin to take steps to reducing your consumption and footprint this winter.

Image via Torange

Christmas Cards

Sure, with the wide spread use of internet on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, the amount of paper cards that are sent has reduced significantly over the last twenty years, but would you believe that there are still over two billion holiday cards sent each year? The amount of paper used for all of these cards is enough to fill a football field with paper stacked ten stories high. To really put that into perspective, if every American family sent one less card during the holidays, over fifty thousand cubic yards of paper could be saved.

Reduce the Ribbon

Wrapping all of the gifts for the holidays usually takes a few rolls of wrapping paper, and maybe a roll or two of ribbon. This holiday season; try to skip out on the ribbon embellishments. These ribbons are difficult to recycle and often end up in landfills because of how small they are and how difficult it is to separate them from the rest of waste. It is estimated that over thirty eight thousand miles of ribbon are thrown away after the holidays. That’s enough ribbon to tie a bow all the way around the Earth!

Food Waste

It would be rare to see a holiday gathering that didn’t have tables covered with dishes of food, side dishes, and desserts. Leftovers are a common sight as holiday parties wind down, and most hosts will end up throwing away leftovers beyond what they’ll eat the next day. Consider the amount of holiday functions that you’ll be attending this year, and you will not be surprised to learn that nearly 100 pounds of food waste is generated per person over the holiday season. A great way to combat this food waste is to send friends and family home with a doggie bag!

Wrapping Paper

On average, an American will go through seven hundred pounds of paper a year. When that figure is multiplied by the current population of the United States, which is over three hundred and twenty million people, the total amount of paper waste generated within the country comes out to over eighteen billion tons. How does this figure factor in to the holidays? Well, during the holiday season, especially the days following Christmas, American’s produce HALF of the total amount of paper waste, mainly consisting of wrapping paper and decorations.

Many other countries in the world celebrate the holidays much different than we do in the United States, whether it’s because resources are lacking, traditions are different, or economic environments are not the same as they are here. If we as Americans can take a look at our consumption habits during the holidays, we may realize that there is a significant amount of room for improvement across the board, from holiday meals to wrapping gifts, to traveling to see family. Cali Carting Inc. wishes all of our customers, clients, and partners a happy and healthy holiday season. Don’t forget to recycle!


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