ESG resource

December 6, 2023


Unwrapping the Surprising Spike in Holiday Waste

Dive into the environmental impact of the holiday season. Uncover startling waste statistics and learn how both businesses and consumers can reduce environmental impact. Discover actionable tips for a more sustainable and eco-friendly holiday season.

ESG Illustration

The holiday season, a time of joy and celebration, unfortunately, brings with it a concerning trend—the significant rise in waste generation. As both businesses and consumers dive into the festivities, the collective impact on the environment is undeniable. In this blog, we'll explore the startling statistics behind the surge in holiday waste, shedding light on the contributions from both businesses and individual consumers. We'll also provide actionable tips for both parties to diminish their waste output and usher in a more sustainable and eco-friendly holiday season.

The Numbers Tell the Story

From the Business Perspective:

  • According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), commercial waste generation increases by approximately 25% during the holiday season compared to the rest of the year.
  • The increased production and disposal of promotional materials, packaging, and seasonal decorations contribute significantly to this surge.

From the Consumer Front:

  • The EPA estimates that household waste increases by more than 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, resulting in about 1 million extra tons of waste each week.
  • Gift wrapping, packaging, and food waste contribute significantly to the heightened levels of consumer-generated waste during the holidays.

The Business Contribution: Strategies for Reduction

1. Eco-Packaging Initiatives:

  • Stats: Currently, only about 34% of businesses use sustainable or recyclable packaging during the holidays.
  • Tips: Businesses can transition to eco-friendly packaging options, reducing the environmental impact. Opt for recyclable materials and clearly communicate this choice to customers.

2. Sustainable Marketing:

  • Stats: Over 50% of marketing materials used during the holiday season are discarded within a week.
  • Tips: Embrace digital marketing alternatives to reduce paper waste. Utilize email campaigns, digital catalogs, and social media to reach customers effectively.

3. Green Decor Choices:

  • Stats: A substantial portion of commercial decorations are single-use, contributing to the waste surge.
  • Tips: Invest in durable, reusable decorations for storefronts and offices. Consider organizing community events to repurpose and share decorations.

The Consumer Impact: Tips for a Greener Celebration

1. Mindful Gift Wrapping:

  • Stats: The United States alone generates about 4 million tons of gift wrap and decorations annually.
  • Tips: Opt for reusable gift wrap, or get creative with alternative materials like fabric or old newspapers. Encourage friends and family to reuse or recycle wrapping paper.

2. Conscious Gift Choices:

  • Stats: Around 30% of holiday gifts are returned, contributing to a significant amount of waste.
  • Tips: Choose gifts thoughtfully to reduce the likelihood of returns. Consider experiences, consumables, or sustainable products that align with the recipient's values.

3. Sustainable Dining:

  • Stats: Food waste increases by 33% during the holidays.
  • Tips: Plan meals thoughtfully, repurpose leftovers, and compost organic waste. Encourage potluck-style gatherings to minimize excess food preparation.

The rise in waste generation during the holiday season is a shared responsibility of both businesses and consumers. By implementing sustainable practices and making conscious choices, we can collectively work towards a greener and more environmentally friendly holiday season.

Share This Article

Continue Reading

Media Contact