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They say it is better to give than to receive but no matter which you prefer 4 million tons of gift wrap and shopping bags end up as trash each year. The holidays are a time when a vast amount of waste is created in America. Should you be more eco-friendly? Read on and decided for yourself what kind of waste footprint you want to be responsible for.

Do you think that sending card might be better than creating gift wrap waste? Think again. Those cards add up quickly. In fact the US sells 2.6 Billion cards each year, that’s about one card for each four-person family in the world. This of course has its own costs, as 375,000 additional trees need to be harvested to support this industry. What is worse is that this makes up a significant part of the 6 million tons of waste created during an American holiday season each year.

One aspect of the holidays to consider is the ubiquitous Christmas tree. In America we purchase over 50 million each year, 30 million of which end up in landfills. Whole forests are being dedicated to the farming of trees that will become trash. What is perhaps worse is that 250 of those trees will be the cause of fires in homes that would be otherwise avoided.

Another cost to consider that you may not think about is the increase in pollution due to holiday travel. It turns out that the average long distance trip during the holiday season is 275miles. A figure that by itself would not be startling but when combined with other facts creates a bigger picture. Combine that with the fact that 66% more Americans or 88 million people are traveling 45% more than they do typically during the holidays we start to see the impact of the season on our carbon footprint. Don’t travel during the holidays? Well your ribbon does, if yours and every other American family only used 2 feet of ribbon you could tie a bow around the entire planet.

Worse is the food waste that is created by holiday parties and eating. Despite the fact that 66% of Americans are overweight, food consumption goes up 25% during the holiday season. Oddly enough some 25% edible food is thrown away in the US each year. For total of 96 billion pounds of food waste each year. If this food waste were instead exported to poor countries can you image how many people would eat?

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