Low Waste Halloween
By Grace Soning
How to stay low-waste this Halloween
We have reached the scariest time of the year, Halloween! Cue the spooky ghosts, creepy costumes and enough sweets to put you in a food coma. However, amongst all the excitement, we may not realise the impact our actions on this holiday are having. The spookiest part of Halloween, in reality, is the waste that it generates.
We are all aware of the impact fast fashion has on the planet, but often people do not associate this with one-off days of the year. Each year in the UK, the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles are thrown away from cheap Halloween costumes. Let that sink in, 83 million plastic bottles, from one day out of the whole entire year. Furthermore, 83% of the materials used in these cheap costumes, often found on Amazon and similar sites, are oil-based polluting plastics that inevitably end up in landfills. This is just the waste from costumes, let’s not forget the waste from candy wrappers, plastic trick-or-treat bags and decorations too! In the US alone, one pound of rubbish is generated per tricker treater.
Another frightening aspect of Halloween results from the use of pumpkins. While pumpkins should decompose naturally, once they are sent to tightly compact landfills oxygen isn’t able to reach them. This causes the pumpkins to release methane while decomposing. Methane, a greenhouse gas, has 80% more warming power than carbon dioxide.
How you can have a sustainable halloween:
Make your own costume from clothes you have in your closet or from other non-plastic items lying around! For example, cardboard boxes can transform into a plethora of costumes. The charity shop is also an option, but be sure to have a circular mindset and only buy items you’ll use again! Borrowing from friends is also a fantastic way to give an old Halloween costume a new life.
Cook with them after! There are so many delicious recipes including pumpkins, from pumpkin pie to pumpkin and kidney bean dip. Another alternative is leaving your old pumpkins in a woodland. Deers love pumpkins and they are a nutritious snack for them! It is always a good idea to break the pumpkins up before so that the deers don’t get their heads stuck. Or, you can compost your pumpkins if that is easily available to you.
Trick or treating
If you are a trick or treater, don’t use a plastic bag to collect your candy. Pillow cases, tote bags or backpacks make great holders for all the sweets you are going to collect! If you are leaving sweets out for the children of the neighbourhood, buy candy wrapped in foil, such as chocolate. Foil is easily recyclable, just rinse it to ensure there’s no residue left on the wrapper, ball it up and place it in your recycling bin!
Use natural materials such as pumpkins, tree branches and dried flowers: materials which can be composted. Other fun decorations include incense, natural candles, and crystals which can be used long after Halloween. Otherwise, get crafty! Make your own low waste decorations out of old cloth, old wine bottles, egg cartons - the world is your oyster! Be sure to keep these decorations for the next year!
I hope everyone has a fun, low-waste Halloween!
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