A lot! A recent (unscientific) study in the UK found that about 3% of Christmas gifts are discarded right away, while about 50% are thrown away within a year. This includes the lion’s share of the 41% of children’s Christmas toys that will be broken within a year–most are thrown away rather than fixed. The problem is getting worse as electronics such as laptops and iPhones become more and more popular, with everyone wanting the latest model that’s usually introduced late in the year to stimulate Christmas sales. What do you do with last year’s cell phone once your sweetheart treats you to a new one? Probably throw it away. That assumes that you don’t get so frustrated trying to get your new gadget to work that you end up throwing it away too, or at least trying to return it; this is the fate of 15% of new Christmas electronics. These numbers are just for the UK alone. These depressing “stuff” statistics don’t even count the staggering waste of packaging, wrapping paper and Christmas cards generated every year, the amount of Christmas decorations thrown away instead of recycled or re-used, or the waste from Christmas trees dumped in landfills.
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