Sustainable America Blog

10 Ways to Feel Less Guilty About Waste This Christmas

10 Ways to Feel Less Guilty About Waste This Christmas

Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? Extra food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons result in an additional 1 million tons a week going into landfills. Some five million tons of food—enough to fill the 100-story John Hancock Building in Chicago more than 14 times—will have been wasted between Thanksgiving and the end of 2013, . Plus, holiday travelers and shipments hit the roads and airports by the tens of millions, burning through fuel as they crisscross the nation. All of this adds up to an extremely wasteful season.

Don’t be dismayed, though. You can change your tune and help the planet by making a few smart choices this year. Here are 10 ideas that will help you green the season.


Ready to start reducing food waste in your own kitchen? Sign up for our free I Value Food: Too Good to Waste Challenge!

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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