NEW YORK — ‘Tis the season to — recycle? Six in 10 Americans waste more during the holiday season than any other time of the year. Now, many people are already making a resolution to produce less holiday garbage this year.
A new survey of 2,000 Americans who celebrate a winter holiday finds respondents estimate they average 43 percent more waste during this festive season. This adds up to about 29 pounds of trash per week — with the biggest holiday offender being wrapping paper (58%), with gift bags (57%) following closely behind. Tissue paper (53%), food waste (53%), and plastic or boxes from presents round out the top five sources of waste during the holidays.
Greener holiday goes a long way
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Avocado Green Mattress, the survey finds the additional waste throughout the season doesn’t actually help people get into the holiday spirit.
The results show over half the poll (54%) think feeling wasteful during the holidays makes them feel less excited for the festivities. Additionally, 56 percent feel like they need to choose between being sustainable and enjoying the holiday season.
Concerns about sustainability have even changed how most people (59%) celebrate the holidays — and many respondents are taking steps to make a difference this year. Of the two-thirds (65%) working to be more sustainable, the top step includes being careful to recycle and compost the appropriate items versus throwing everything in the trash (64%).
Respondents are also planning to buy reusable items instead of plastic (48%) and use sustainable wrapping paper such as newspapers this year (43%).
“Recycling is something we can all do to make a big collective impact,” says Mark Abrials, Avocado Green Brands founder and chief marketing officer, in a statement. “We upcycle all our unused material into other products, and we believe that taking responsibility for our actions can make the holidays more sustainable — and they can add joy to the season, too.”
New year, new recycling habits?
The survey also asked people about their New Year’s resolutions and 63 percent claim they’re planning to make a “sustainable resolution” for 2022 to become more environmentally friendly. For those respondents, 63 percent hope a loved one will participate in the resolution with them.
Meanwhile, 59 percent plan to tell someone about their resolution to help them stick with it. They’re feeling optimistic too; if they can stick with their sustainable resolutions for a month, respondents think that’s long enough to make it a lasting habit.
“We get it — changing habits is hard stuff,” Abrials says. “Avocado’s resolution is to achieve a Zero Waste certification at our factory, and we’re almost there! But it takes time, and we should all be patient with ourselves as we learn, grow and make positive changes in our lives.”