Mother Earth Living

Quiz: How Much Waste is Generated During the Holidays?

Find out how how much waste is generated during the holidays. Americans max out everything from credit cards to garbage cans. Take our quiz to get the tally.
By The Mother Earth Living staff

November/December 2003
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This quiz tells you how much waste is generated during the holidays.
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Take our quiz to learn how much waste is generated during the holidays.

How Much Waste is Generated During the Holidays?

1. Between Thanksgiving and New Year how much more trash is created than during the rest of the year?

a. 5,000 tons
b. 50,000 tons
c. 5 million tons

2. How many trees could be saved yearly if only 10 percent of holiday cards were sent ­electronically?

a. 3,000
b. 30,000
c. 300,000

3. What percentage of Americans said they would prefer the holidays be less about gift buying and more focused on the important things in life?

a. 70 percent
b. 45 percent
c. 20 percent

4. How long does it take the average person to pay off holiday expenditures?

a. one year
b. six months
c. four months

5. After holiday feasts and parties, how many pounds of food are thrown away?

a. 28 billion pounds
b. 14 million pounds
c. 1 million pounds

Answers:

1. c. Five million tons. Americans throw away a million tons of trash weekly, but ­during the holidays there’s an extra million per week, including 38,000 miles of ribbon and 4 million tons of shopping bags and gift wrapping. (“Use Less Stuff” Report)

2. b. 30,000 trees. Holiday cards account for about 750 million pieces of mail, enough to overflow a ten-story football stadium. (Partners for Environmental Progress)

3. a. 70 percent. Instead of material gifts, commemorate the holidays by sharing your time and talents. (Center for a New American Dream)

4. c. It takes about four months for most credit card users to pay off holiday bills. The International Mass Retail Association figures most Americans exceed their budgets by 15 to 30 percent annually around the holidays.

5. a. 28 billion pounds of edible food are wasted—more than 100 pounds per person nationwide. Minimize the amount of food you prepare for parties, and donate leftovers to local food banks or homeless shelters.








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