Halloween is quickly approaching and that usually means one of two things: securing a killer look well in advance for a party you’re attending or nailing the look down pat for a spooky soirée hosted by you. If your priorities fall on the latter, chances are you’ve already locked in on an epic eco-friendly Halloween look (if not, we’ve offered some assistance). But if you’re left wondering how you can translate that positive yet planet-friendly sentiment onto your party planning skills as well, keep reading to know just how — and why it matters.Key Takeaways:
Halloween decoration and party favours have an unsustainable impact on the planet
Find a list of sustainable Halloween party ideas and tips
The most terrifying thing about Halloween isn’t the gory horror flick on your Netflix watchlist, but the terrible waste it leaves behind once the festivities are over. And from the looks of it, Americans plan on carrying on with Halloween-as-usual this year in a larger than life fashion, potentially leading to more waste. A survey by the National Retail Federation claimed that U.S. consumers intend on spending $10.14 billion on Halloween-related items this year, putting plans to celebrate the festival close to pre-pandemic levels. While the enthusiasm around the festivities is justifiable after a year of isolation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to create the usual mountain of waste, leaving the environment with a long-lasting hangover that remains to haunt us all.
Halloween-generated waste comes from multiple areas; like carved pumpkins, plastic candy wrappers and, lest we forget, our costumes. Every year, over 1 billion pounds of pumpkin are discarded and left to rot in America’s landfills — a large chunk of which are thrown away the day after Halloween, contributing to the 30.3 million tons worth in annual food waste. When left to decompose in a landfill, pumpkin waste produces methane gas — a greenhouse gas that has more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide.
RTS, a waste handling service headquartered in New York, claim that most candy wrappers cannot be recycled since they are too small to pass through a recycling machine. As a result of which, they end up getting diverted to a landfill where plastics make up almost 20% of all municipal solid waste and much of our discarded Halloween costumes add to this pile. Researchers found that 83% of the material used in costumes from 19 supermarkets and retailers was oil-based plastic likely to end up in landfills—predominantly polyester. Furthermore, 2,000 tonnes worth of plastic waste (the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles) is generated from clothing and costumes alone, most of which will only be worn once.Have yourself a waste-free Halloween
There’s no reason why these haunting facts should put a damper on your Halloween plans. We’ve compiled a quick list of tips and tricks that could sort you out for a low-waste gathering that’s big on effect and low on impact.
Ditch disposable decorations in favour of some second hand Halloween decorations from your friends or neighbours or DIY your own with upcycled materials (Pinterest has a ton of ideas)
Purchase Halloween treats in bulk at your local candy store. This cuts down individual wrapper waste and you can hand them out in cloth bags or cardboard boxes
Candy brands like Hershey’s Kisses have done their bit to create treats that are wrapped in recyclable aluminum making it the ideal choice for a green Halloween treat
Pumpkins fall into the category of biodegradable decorations, so pop them in the compost to divert them away from landfills where they could wreak havoc
For your party, use biodegradable or reusable plates and cups or provide finger foods that can be eaten without plates
While you’re here, take a look at just how cheap Halloween costumes and synthetic clothes can have an irreversible impact on the planet:
Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-10-19