Christmas, the most wasteful holiday of the year

wasteAmericans buy 25 to 30 million live Christmas trees every year, that’s a lot of trees that are going to end up in the garbage by the end of the season. | Kailey Krantz, PantherNOW

Kailey Krantz | Staff Writer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – not just for you and your families, but for landfills across America as well.

Students and their families will be focused on buying gifts, decorations, and ingredients for their favorite holiday recipes this season, yet they don’t stop and think about the impact their waste has by the end of the season.

25% more waste is annually produced by Americans in December, the prime time of the holidays.

Considering the amount of products our families and friends buy, I’m surprised it’s not higher. 

I enjoyed the Christmas season when I was younger. I could sense the holiday magic through the glittering lights, the fun presents, and the memories I created with my family.

But as I got older, I couldn’t help but feel like that magic was fading. I saw the holiday and only thought about the shiny paper wrappings, not the present that was supposed to be inside.

The unnecessary waste from wrapping paper, plastic, leftovers and the presents we pretend to like from family members builds up in landfills quickly. 

I get that we may not like all of the presents we’re given, but that doesn’t mean we should throw them away at first glance.

Instead, they should be regifted and given to those in need, such as the Salvation Army. The leftover food products could be reused for future recipes or donated to local food banks.

We’re even wasteful with the Christmas trees we buy annually.

Americans buy 25 to 30 million live Christmas trees every year, that’s a lot of trees that are going to end up in the garbage by the end of the season. 

Understandably, they’re going to rot if they’re left up for long and they won’t be in style for the rest of the year until next December.

This cycle continues as we go back to the Christmas tree farms next year and treat these trees like an annual passing trend.

Buying fake trees is the better option. They don’t rot, can be reused annually, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the tree needles, are easier to move from place to place and are customizable to fit the seasonal trends of that year. 

However, even if buying fake trees is the better option, they are made of plastic, could be damaged or worn out over the years and take more time to decompose in landfills than live trees, thus continuing the annual cycle of waste.

At the rate we’re going, we might as well kiss a couple of holidays in the future goodbye because we won’t have a planet to celebrate them on.

Our holidays should be enjoying the time we have with friends and family before the new year starts, not sending our items to decompose for a couple of eternities. 

As the holidays are coming to an end and we begin throwing away our decorations, keep in mind the waste you’re producing. The holidays could be more eco-friendly and sustainable in the future if we checked that list twice.


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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