Grand Rapids photo of the trash "smart cart" that will allow customers to pay for each load of garbage hauled away.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Nationally between Thanksgiving and New Year's, waste increases a million tons every week, according to researchers.
Kent County measures waste in tons, about the weight a small Ford car. On average, the Kent County Waste Division throws away about 2,500 tons of garbage a month, or about the weight of 2,500 cars. Around the holidays it jumps to 3,000, all going to the landfill.
Kent County Waste Director, Dennis Kmiecik, is gearing up for November. "We see a huge influx, normally if you come here after Thanksgiving the pile is out to the door."
He says during November and December, the recycling plant alone takes in an extra 3 to 4 percent of waste that can't be recycled.
"Thanksgiving we see a lot of packaging from food; we don't get a lot of food waste here but our other facility gets a slight food waste increase," says Kmiecik.
He says people don't know some items can't be recycled, forcing the county to bring it to the landfill, a loss of about $21,000 every holiday.
"America is known for a throw away society," says Kmiecik.
It's not just households, corporations are also to blame for waste. Feeding America West Michigan is trying nab the excess food before it ends up in the landfill. They are getting donations from Kellogg and many other corporations.
"I see donations like this, and when I go down the grocery aisle a box of cereal is $4-5, when we get these great donations from Kellogg it's just incredible," says Stacie Nobles of Feeding America.
For Kmiecik, he hopes seeing the waste will have people thinking green for the holidays, in more ways than one.