Household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day: an extra one million tons a week in US landfills, much of it merchandise boxes, gift wrapping and discarded Xmas trees.
Nearly 60 percent of Americans receive unwanted gifts during the holidays, of which $90 billion worth are returned. And half of that winds up in landfills because it is often cheaper for a retailer to trash an item than resell it. That’s a lot of energy and resources totally wasted. And, of course, there are the millions of gallons of gasoline consumed by people shopping for gifts.
One way to alleviate the problem is to buy people gift cards that are redeemable at “big box” stores so people can use the cards to buy essentials like groceries or take their time to buy what they really want or need. Or we could limit gift-giving to children. How about “Christmas is for Kids” as a slogan?