Spooky season is almost here! That means lots of fun, creepy costumes, creatively decorated houses ... and a lot of environmental waste. From plastic candy wrappers to costumes we toss out at the end of the night, there are many ways this one night creates waste. On top of that, it also costs a lot - last year alone, over $10 billion was spent on Halloween in the U.S.!
Before we dive into how we can make this Halloween greener (and cheaper), let's take a close look at how this scary night has a scary environmental impact.
On average, 7 million Halloween costumes are thrown away each year - the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles. Most Halloween costumes are made of synthetic fabrics like polyester, which are not degradable and release harmful toxins into the environment in landfills.
8 million of the 1.4 billion pumpkins made for Halloween in 2019 will end up in landfills. The energy, water, and other resources used in the production of these pumpkins have an impact on the environment. Plus, it's a waste of a really good, healthy, completely waste-free product.
At $10.8 billion, American consumers spent more money on decorations this year than ever before. These decorations are typically made of plastic and non-recyclable materials like glitter. After the holidays, Americans typically throw away 25% more plastic than usual, further increasing trash piles and pollution.
Americans spend $600 million on candy during Halloween. Much of it is thrown away instead of being eaten, where it begins to rot, plastic and all, further adding to the food and plastic waste problem. Plastic candy wrappers account for most of the waste generated by trick-or-treaters. Because they are so thin, they usually can't be recycled.
You have two choices:
Many people have forgotten nowadays, but the pumpkin is the ultimate zero-waste Halloween decoration because you can use just about every part of it. After you've had a blast on the peel, you can use the mushy "guts" to make pumpkin soup for family dinners, and the seeds can be roasted and sprinkled on salads. After the feast, you can dispose of the hollowed-out pumpkin in the compost or feed it to animals. Many animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, and goats find pumpkins very tasty. Zoos are always happy to receive a donation after the holidays, too.
Before you head out on your next big haul for the scariest skeletons, there are a few things you can do to reduce your waste:
After the night's fun, there's bound to be some waste you couldn't avoid. Compost the organic waste, and recycle what can be recycled.
How are you taking care of the environment this Halloween? Share with me on Social Media how you Go Green for Halloween!