This weekend, consumers will spend hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing flat screen TVs, early Christmas presents, handheld electronics and other sale items as part of Black Friday.
The day-after-Thanksgiving tradition has become its own sort of consumption holiday, with some shoppers leaving their turkey dinners to line up the night before for a chance to save a few hundred dollars on a product they might even already own.
On the biggest shopping day of the year, we decided to look at some of the numbers to show just how powerful American’s obsession with consumption really is.
The amount Americans spend in a single weekend is more than half of the total they give to churches in an entire year.
Enough K-Cups were thrown out in 2014 to encircle the Earth 12 times.
According to their creator, K-Cups are almost impossible to recycle.
Nearly 40 percent of Food in America goes to waste.
In America, more money is spent on fashion accessories than college tuition.
The amount spent on shoes, watches and jewelry alone totals $100 billion.
Wealthy nations waste almost as much food is produced in all of sub-Saharan Africa.
Food wasted in developed countries every year: 222 million tons; Annual net food production in sub-Saharan Africa: 230 million tons.
Nearly half the world’s toys are in America.
The average American household has more than $7,500 in consumer debt.
The medium annual household income for the global population is just of $9,700.
America creates more electronic waste than any other nation on earth.
Despite being less than a quarter the size of China, Americans throughout more than 1 million tons more electronic devices than the country. Relatively little of it is recycled.
Homes in the U.S. contain more TVs than they do people.
On average, houses in the U.S. have three working television sets.
12 percent of the population does more than half of the spending.
Plastic kills 1 million seabirds every single year.
Americans use 100 billion plastic bags annually.
Editor’s note: A version of this story ran in 2015.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.