Peak Trash

The end of the year is peak trash season across America as the Environmental Protection Agency estimates Americans produce around 25% more waste around the holidays than other periods. As the WSJ notes, Christmas isn’t so pretty on the back end. The additional garbage—which adds up to over one million tons of waste—includes food scraps, cutlery, wine bottles, wrapping paper and Christmas trees; but Online sales add a thickening layer of refuse. In recent years, as more consumers have taken to buying online, the volume of corrugated cardboard boxes, air-filled plastic pockets and Styrofoam pellets in trash has grown. The rise is unprecedented as corrugated cardboard boxes account for as much as 50% of the paper product waste from some nearby towns, versus less than 20% a decade ago.

Via WSJ,

the holidays also produce an ever growing pile of trash, one that is getting bigger as Americans shift more of their shopping to the Web.

 

David Menke, a sanitation worker in Ohio, sees it firsthand driving a garbage truck and collecting trash on the outskirts of Cincinnati. “You can tell people are buying more things online, as there are already a lot of Amazon and FedEx boxes,” said the 34-year-old.

 

 

Americans produce around 25% more waste around the holidays than other periods, estimates the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

 

Online sales in the U.S. this year are forecast to grow 15% to $78 billion, according to technology researcher Forrester Research Inc…. The U.S. Postal Service expects to ship a record 420 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, an increase of 12% from last year.

 

 

At Atlantic Coast Fibers LLC, a New Jersey recycling company, corrugated cardboard boxes account for as much as 50% of the paper product waste from some nearby towns, versus less than 20% a decade ago.

 

“A lot of that is the result of e-commerce,” said Allan Zozzaro, who runs a materials-processing division of Atlantic Coast. And after buying online, people get more catalogs in the mail from retailers, adding to the waste, he said.

 

 

Some retailers in recent years have tried to cut down on box sizes and materials to reduce waste. Amazon now sells some toys and consumer products in what it calls “frustration-free packaging,” which enables some items to be delivered in their own packaging without an additional shipping box. Still, shoppers say boxes they receive are sometimes too large or have a lot of filler material.

 

 

“There are lots of plastic bags filled up with air, and sometimes giant boxes,” Ms. Skeuse said. “It’s a lot of waste.”

    



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

− 1 = 1

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.