This text is a part of HuffPost’s Reclaim marketing campaign, an ongoing venture spotlighting the world’s waste disaster and the way we will start to unravel it.

The spirit of giving is in full pressure, however with it comes an entire lot of rubbish.

Between Thanksgiving and New Yr’s, Individuals generate a further 1 million tons of household waste, in keeping with the Environmental Safety Company. 

A million tons certain feels like loads, however it’s not all that stunning when you think about how our consumption habits have advanced in terms of the vacations. 

Elevated on-line gross sales translate right into a surplus of packaging waste. Wrapping presents sends large quantities of ornamental paper to landfills. And cooking up heaping portions of meals at gatherings means loads of leftovers within the trash.

“The magnitude is what actually blows your thoughts with this one,” mentioned Nicole Civita, a professor and director of the Meals Restoration Mission with the College of Arkansas Faculty of Regulation and assistant director of the Rian Fried Heart for Sustainable Agriculture & Meals Programs at Sterling Faculty.


Over Thanksgiving, for instance, Individuals wasted about 204 million pounds of turkey, in keeping with the Pure Assets Protection Council, a nonprofit conservation group.

As well as, the quantity of issues Individuals order on-line over the vacations is skyrocketing. Customers spent $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday alone, a 12.1 % enhance over final yr, in keeping with Fortune. And although we’re fairly accountable about disposing of some sorts of packaging ― nearly 90 percent of corrugated boxes have been recycled in 2014 ― supplies like bubble wrap and different linings are inclined to get despatched to the landfill.

The irony of all of it is that the exorbitant quantity of waste stems from revelers’ generosity. There’s a way of overwhelming stress to stuff our visitors, give vivid and glossy presents and throw elaborate events.

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From Thanksgiving via the next Sunday, e-retail gross sales within the U.S. hit $9.36 billion.

“There’s this frenzy of expectations,” Civita informed The Huffington Publish. “It may be a time once we really feel actually pressured to spend, to make, to do. In that heightened atmosphere, we’re just a bit extra lax about numerous our environmental ethics, and about our consumption.”

Civita, and different waste consultants, agree that revelers can simply decrease waste over the vacations with out sacrificing their indulgences. It simply takes a bit of little bit of planning.

For instance, whereas making ready for a vacation meal, Civita suggests taking stock of the pantry after which growing a plan primarily based on what’s already out there. She additionally recommends serving meals in shifts, so the dishes that don’t sit out as lengthy have a greater likelihood of being reheated and eaten the next day.

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Most of that is in all probability going proper into the trash. 

In case you’re throwing a large occasion, get in contact with a meals restoration group upfront as a way to organize for the group to select up the leftovers in a well timed method and convey them to folks in want. And, as an alternative of wrapping presents in garish paper, use outdated newspaper or procuring baggage.

At her residence, Civita has give you quite a few different methods to cut back waste over the vacations. She and her youngsters flip used wrapping paper into vacation playing cards for the youngsters’s academics. Civita sends her visitors residence with leftovers and finds methods to repurpose what’s left in her fridge. When she brings a dish to a potluck, she at all times packs it in a reusable container (even when meaning having an “awkward” dialog with a bunch to get it again).

General although, Civita isn’t dismayed by the quantity of waste Individuals generate as an entire. She sees the staggering statistics as a possibility to get folks speaking concerning the difficulty and devise artistic options.

“Personally, I see it as a extremely enjoyable problem,” Civita mentioned, “and I form of geek out.”

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