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Trash Season: Americans create more waste during the holidays than any other time of year



Stressed festive man holding gifts on white background

‘Tis the season to recycle! Six in 10 Americans waste more during the holiday season than any other time of the year, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans who celebrate a winter holiday revealed respondents estimate they average 43% more waste during the festive season.

This adds up to about 29 pounds of waste per week — with the biggest holiday offender found to be wrapping paper (58%), followed by gift bags (57%).

Tissue paper (53%), food waste (53%) and plastic/boxes from presents rounded out the top five additional sources of waste during the holidays.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Avocado Green Mattress, the survey found the additional waste throughout the season isn’t helping people get into the holiday spirit.

The results found that over half (54%) said feeling wasteful during the holidays makes them feel less excited for the festivities.

Additionally, 56% feel like they need to choose between being sustainable and enjoying the holiday season.

Concerns about sustainability have even changed how some 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,” said Mark Abrials, Avocado Green Brands founder and chief marketing officer. “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.”

The survey also asked people about their New Year’s resolutions, and 63% said they're planning to make a “sustainable resolution” for 2022 to become more environmentally friendly.

For those respondents, 63% hope a loved one will participate in the resolution with them — while 59% plan to tell someone about their resolution to help them stick with it.

And they’re feeling optimistic: if they can stick with their sustainable resolutions for a month, respondents said that’s long enough to make it a lasting habit.

“We get it — changing habits is hard stuff,” said Abrials. “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.”


  • Be careful to recycle and compost the appropriate items - 64%
  • Buy reusable items, versus relying on plastic - 48%
  • Use sustainable wrapping paper - 43%
  • Not cooking as much food, so it won't go bad/be thrown out - 40%
  • Hold a smaller gathering - 36%
  • Not giving as many gifts this year - 32%
  • Avoid buying year-themed items (2022 glasses, hats, etc.) - 34%
  • Donate time or money to an environmental/sustainable cause - 25%
  • Reuse an artificial tree from previous holidays - 25%
  • Only have holiday lights on at limited times - 25%

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