Holiday waste by the numbers

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The holiday season generates a lot of waste, and many things contribute to this excess of trash this time of year.

  • Thousands of paper and plastic shopping bags end up in landfills after the holiday season. Reusable cloth bags can limit the amount of bags tossed away, and users of plastic bags can recycle those bags at appropriate receptacles.
  • Four million tons of waste is attributed to shopping bags and wrapping paper. Recycling paper or looking for reusable items in which to wrap gifts can cut down on paper waste.
  • Approximately 33 million live trees are cut down and sold in North America each year for Christmas. If you use a live tree, be sure to recycle it so it can be turned into mulch instead of being sent to a landfill. Otherwise, consider buying a potted tree and planting it after the holidays.
  • Nearly 2.65 billion Christmas cards are sold and exchanged each year in the United States alone. This many cards can fill a football field 10 stories high. One less card sent per person can save roughly 50,000 cubic yards of paper. Electronic greetings are another way to save paper.
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