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Hold That Card: Holiday Waste

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 11, 2014

Spot illustration © Jason PowersFour million tons of wrapping paper and bags, 2.65 billion holiday cards, enough ribbon to wrap around the earth several times: when it comes to holidays, Americans go big. As Jason Powers illustrated in this infographic, in the United States over a million tons of landfill waste is created per week in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. The waste goes beyond just paper goods: we also throw away about 25% of purchased foods, and 60% of us receive gifts we really don't want.

The news isn't all bad though; we're far less materialistic than the statistics on waste might indicate. About 70% of us welcome less emphasis on gifts and spending, and 52% of us pass on those unwanted gifts (hopefully to recipients who truly enjoy them). Powers pulled together the infographic from data acquired from RecycleWorks, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Gallup. The data is three years old; Powers created the graphic in 2011. We'd be intrigued to see where the numbers stand now that the economy has been in a slow recovery.

Infographic © Jason Powers. Used with permission.

Holiday Waste infographic © Jason Powers

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