6 ways to be more sustainable this Halloween
October 18, 2020
Halloween is the sixth most celebrated holiday in the world. Because of all the joy the tradition brings to the average United States citizen each year, the consequences and ecological drawbacks of Halloween festivities is usually never thought about or overlooked. But the waste produced because if this holiday is enormous. In 2019, the projected waste costumes would create was 2,000 tons of plastic, and food waste was produced by thousands of tons from thrown out pumpkins. Even more concern is raised when taking into account waste produced by one time use decorations, plates and utensils and candy packaging. With this in mind, here are six ways to be more sustainable this Halloween without giving up the Halloween fun.
- Halloween costumes are designed from cheap, disposable materials. These costumes are not meant to last more than a day because it is expected consumers will throw it away and buy a new one the next year. Obviously this creates a lot of plastic waste. Combat this by buying long lasting costumes from small entrepreneurs on platforms like Etsy, making or recycling homemade costumes, thrift shopping or doing costume exchanges with friends.
- Most Halloween decorations available to buy are made from non-recyclable plastics. Reduce your plastic waste this year by making your own with recyclable products. Pumpkins and gourds can be used as natural decorations, cardboard can be used for coffins and fake blood recipes from natural ingredients are always an option. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are great places to get inspired. Thrift shops are also filled with creepy trinkets and bottles perfect for Halloween.
- When throwing Halloween parties, a lot of one use plastic is usually used. Prevent this by using reusable cups, plates and utensils or use compostable ones. Recycle bottles and cans. Buying food for parties locally is also important.
- Packaging candy is obviously a waste concern, but mass produced candy can present other problems too. Candy mass production contributes to deforestation and species extinction because of sugar, palm oil and cocoa bean demands. Large companies like Nestle and Hershey’s have sourced their cocoa in countries that use child labor to harvest it. The whole process also takes a lot of energy. Instead of buying large packages of candy, make your own treats or offer little kids things like pencils and temporary tattoos. If you do buy candy, buy products certified USDA Organic, CERES, NASAA Certified Organic and Fairtrade.
- Buy pumpkins locally. Prevent food waste by composting pumpkins instead of throwing them away. You can also do this by roasting the pumpkin seeds or using the insides to make baked goods and other recipes.
- Trick-or-Treating. When taking younger siblings to go trick-or-treating, use reusable bags, buckets or pillowcases to collect candy. This is a sustainable way to still participate in Halloween tradition instead of using the common plastic pumpkin basket which will likely be thrown away.