Halloween Waste: 5 Eco-Friendly Switches for a Scare-Free Impact on the Planet
Halloween brings with it a whole heap of fun stuff – especially for kids. Trick or treating, pumpkin carving and Hocus Pocus all spring to mind when we think about Halloween days and nights gone by. Not forgetting the elaborate fancy dress and make-up that comes with the USA-originated, door-knocking phenomenon.
And we’d almost always pick a treat, wouldn’t we? A trick is cool and all that, but nothing beats when you knock on a door and the person inside says “take a handful”, or that feeling you get when you return home and empty your bucket to find enough sweets and chocolate to last you until the following year. It was always a competition, too, right? There was no helping you if you were the youngest sibling because there was bound to be a shakedown for the best sweets.
And of course they never lasted. Within half an hour of being home, 10-year-old you was literally bouncing off the walls and your Mum was giving your Dad a lecture about how she “told him a million times that the sweets are not to make it past the stairs”.
Someone always gave you a homemade food item as well, and Mum always treated it like contained some sort of drug and immediately binned it. And now that you’re an adult, you can appreciate that it was pretty sensible in hindsight, but you were always pretty miffed that you didn’t get to try the unknown foodstuff. So yeah, that always ended up in the bin.
And herein – conveniently for this post – lies the problem. Halloween is a time of the year when novelty memorabilia and confectionary have their time to shine. But unfortunately that brings with it some pretty scary facts about the amount of waste that is produced as a result.
Warning: some of the following might be somewhat frightening:
- 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste (about 83million bottles worth) is generated in the UK every year, during the Halloween period
- Over 83% of costumes are made from polyester and most are only worn once
- More than 90% of families intend to buy costumes for their children at Halloween
- 7 million costumes are thrown away every single year
Petrifying, isn’t it?
You see, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll reuse a pumpkin costume to attend a christening and you don’t often see a skeleton outfit in a school photo. The truth is that we just don’t have a need to use a Halloween costume again once the festivities are over.
And of course we’re not suggesting that next time your daughter is asked to be a bridesmaid, you volunteer up her most recent witches’ outfit and hope that no one notices. However, we do have some tips on how you can contribute to making Halloween more eco-friendly and less hair-raisingly damaging for the planet.
1. Make your own costumes
This in itself is enough to scare even those hands-on parents who sit on the school PTA, but it’s actually not as mammoth of a task as it sounds. Safety pins, scissors and off-cuts are your friend here. Old clothes that can be repurposed for a ripped, zombie-like effect, or garments can be jazzed up with sequins or other various add-ons, to create a truly unique Halloween costume. This is also a great activity for children to get involved in and each costume that is made at home is one less that will end up harming the environment. Stuck for ideas? Let us point you in the right direction.
2. Opt for confectionary with recyclable packaging
This is a really easy swap to make and you really don’t have to look too far to find sweets, chocolate and/or other treats which are wrapped in eco-friendly or recyclable packaging, as opposed to the type that might end up in landfill. Remember to look for items wrapped in paper-based packets and encourage your own children to dispose of the wrappers properly. If everyone does this, we’d wake up on November 1st with far fewer plastic and foil wrappers lining the streets.
3. Buy second-hand
If you’re really not one for DIY costume-making, this is a no-brainer and will probably save you money at the same time as saving the planet. What more could you possibly want? Check your local online marketplaces, social media and other selling sites, as it’s likely that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, in the right size and in almost mint condition, as - like we’ve already said - it’s only been worn once before. You might be one of those people who’s not a fan of second-hand clothes, but this is a one-off and will be good as new once it’s been through a wash.
4. Craft your own decorations
Plastic hanging pumpkins, skeletons for the front door and anything else in between; every year there seems to be a new set of fan-plastic decorations on the front door of your all-or-nothing neighbour. Side note: if you don’t have a neighbour with garish decorations for every type of festivity – then it’s probably you. You’re the all-or-nothing neighbour with the OTT decorations. We digress. The point is that you can make brilliant-looking decorations yourself, without the price-tag and negative impact on the environment. Check out some ideas here.
5. Steer clear of plastic buckets
Supermarkets and other retailers are always stacked full of different designs of plastic buckets for trick or treaters, but making a swap to a reusable option is another way to do your bit for the planet. Wooden, wicker or metal alternatives are eco-friendly – and far more authentically “Halloween” – than their plastic counterparts, and can be reused for plenty of other things aside from Halloween activities.
If everyone make small changes, the impact can be monumental, and of course we’re enthusiastic about this stuff because managing waste is what we do – and we care about it in every aspect of our lives.
To find out how we can help you manage your waste more effectively, get in contact us today.