Wrapped in Waste: Wasteful Holiday Greetings

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 1:24 PM



“Happy Holidays!” “Thinking of You”  “Season’s Greetings” and the wishes go on and on, but really is sending a piece of paper waste to your friends and family the way you want to send your holiday wishes?
Do you buy into holiday propriety or as it is also called “tradition” by sending out Holiday Greeting cards to everyone in your address book, wasting time, money, and paper all for something that ends up in the trash by New Years? Well if you are like most Americans, you fear the possibility of being viewed as inconsiderate if you do not send out these wonderful wastes of paper on time to all your acquaintances, some of which you may not even speak to on a monthly basis. Wow, the extents that we will go to to comply with social standards!
We buy cards for everything: Birthdays, Holidays, Remembrances, Sympathy, Anniversaries, Love, Hate, Just Because, Laughs, etc. But the amount of trash all these cards generate is nothing to celebrate. In the United States about 7 billion, yes billion with a B, greeting cards are purchased and thrown away annually. Not only are these cards little gold nuggets, known as being one of the most overpriced “traditions” out there,  they also attribute to a huge amount of holiday trash! There really is nothing comforting about knowing that all of your time, efforts, and money are thrown away and not admired despite your efforts to conform with holiday traditions!
So what to do about sending and receiving your holiday wishes? Well, rather than wasting significant amounts of time and money by buying a bunch of paper that is just going to be thrown away, try the following to reduce your spending and your holiday paper waste.
-Use e-cards! You can send a card electronically to everyone in your address book with one click and no paper, postage, etc.! These cards can be personalized and will allow you to keep up with the social tradition of sending greeting cards. The following sites offer e cards at little to no cost AND no waste!
-Make your own cards out of paper scraps around the house-you can even use bits and pieces of old cards you have received in the past to make new cards! This reduces the amount of waste that you throw away and is an effective way to recycle your old cards!
-Reduce the number of cards you send and only send cards to those you really associate with. Think about it, do some of the recipients of your cards really know who you are? Do you really care what they think about you so much that you go out of your way to send them paper waste for the holiday?
-Don’t send any cards at all! In today’s world of social media, do you really need to send a card to let them know you care? Probably not! Post your greetings on their Facebook or other social media page. If you are like most Americans, you probably are already spending more than 7 hours a month on Facebook already!

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