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Recycling // Thought Leadership // Waste Industry

How Waste Increases During The Holidays And What Your Business Can Do

A 25% increase in waste production during the holiday season might sound alarming so here are some tips for a greener holiday for your business.

Bradford Arick | December 22, 2022


An additional 1 million tons: that’s how much waste Americans produce on average during the holiday season every year. Whether it's new decorations for your office or waste left from the company party, doing a better job managing waste is not something that’s always top of mind this time of year.

Believe it or not, there are ways to enjoy the holidays without putting undue stress on the environment. And many of these things can be good for your business too.

Here are some tips for a greener holiday throughout the halls of your company:

CLICK HERE to read more about the The 5 R's: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle


Do you prefer the sweet scent of pine that a real tree can bring to your business? Every year, 25-30 million Christmas trees are sold. Be sure to “tree-cycle.” Chances are, your city, township, municipality, or waste company has a program where the tree can be picked up in the weeks after the holidays. The trees are often mulched and used in landscaping. They can also be composted. Not into the real deal? Artificial trees in theory can be used forever. While they often can’t be recycled, you’ll still be able to spread some holiday cheer around your facility.


Your office gift exchange can also offer a chance to be more sustainable. Some types of wrapping paper can be tossed in the recycling bin. Even if it has a design on it, regular paper is generally fine. If the paper is metallic, glossy, or velvety, you’ll have to toss that in the trash. Around 30 million trees are used for holiday gift wrapping each year. Things like brown paper bags and newspapers also make excellent gift wrapping, offering a chance to reuse things that many businesses simply have lying around.


In the United States alone, 1.6 billion holiday cards are sold and most are thrown away after a few weeks. Consider sending an e-card or use recycled cards for your employees. If the old-fashioned way is what your business prefers, make sure they get tossed into the recycling bin and not the trash. Just make sure anything glittery or made of foil gets removed before doing so. 

What types of mail are recyclable? CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT!


Holiday parties are often a great way for employees to unwind and connect with each other. If you’re having the party in-house, choose reusable materials. Plates, cutlery, and serving dishes that can simply be tossed into the break room dishwasher are better for the environment than single-use items. Your company can keep plastics out of the environment by choosing not to use them.



A 25% increase in waste production during the holiday season might sound alarming, but it offers your business another chance to take stock of things. How well is your waste management program functioning? This can be a terrific time to review your plans to see what’s working and what isn’t. You’ll also learn if your program can handle such a seasonal waste increase. Is your equipment right-sized and are your pickups working for you? Don’t forget to review your pickup schedule during the holiday season. There are likely changes to when equipment will be serviced. It’s also a time of year where winter weather can wreak havoc. Ensure your program can make it through a prolonged winter event without issue.

Don’t let a failing waste management program ruin the holidays for your company. RoadRunner has a toolbox of solutions for your business, whether you’ve got just one location or dozens across the country. Gift your business sustainability and RoadRunner can help your company meet your green goals.



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