Halloween, the favourite holiday of millions of people around the world, is just around the corner. However, have you asked yourself about the impact this festivity may have on our planet?
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, consumer spending on Halloween-related products will reach its record high amount of USD 10.14 billion, up 26% from USD 8.05 billion in 2020. A significant part of this “investment” will be thrown away. From scary costumes and decorations to carved pumpkins and sugar-rich candies, this holiday is creating huge amounts of waste every year.
What can YOU do?
Do Not Throw Away Your Carved Pumpkins
A survey conducted in 2020 shows that more than 50% of the 24 million Halloween pumpkins in the UK ended up uneaten.
Pumpkins are highly nutritious and rich in Vitamin A and C, potassium and fibre. They also have a strong antioxidant effect and contain compounds that are proven great for our skin.
We know that carved pumpkins can be inedible but there are some ways to give them a second chance. For instance, you can compost them or feed animals like birds, badgers, and squirrels with them.
The best solution, however, is to not carve them in the first place. You can provoke your creativity and decorate them on the outside. Turn your pumpkin into a canvas and then use it for a delicious pumpkin pie which the whole family would enjoy!
Trick or Treat
Consumers in the United States alone purchase more than 500 million pounds of candy each year around Halloween. The scary thing, however, is not the amount but the fact that the majority of candies are wrapped into a mix of plastics and aluminium to protect them from spoiling. This combination, though, is usually impossible to recycle. However, there are of course some simple ways to mitigate waste from candies.
For instance, you can opt for healthier treats like fruits, which kids may not be really excited about. Additionally, there are companies like Alter Eco Foods that create candies in compostable or recyclable packaging. Alternatively, you can choose candies in cardboard boxes, which are easily recyclable as well.
The stores are full of decorations. As expected, plastic and other nondegradables\ materials are dominating the market. The saddest thing is that the majority of these decorations are simply thrown away after being used once or twice.
The festive decorations, however, could be eco-friendly. Get real pumpkins and opt for DIY ornaments. For instance, you can create a spider net from black yarn and ghost lanterns from milk jugs. Don’t forget that imagination and creativity can change the world!
What to wear?
According to a study conducted by Hubbub, more than 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated each Halloween from costumes alone. This is the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles. A scary fact is that about 40% of these outfits are worn only once.
How to spare the landfills from yet another Halloween costume?
You can reuse what you already have. It is a good start and you can add some new touches to make it more memorable. Do not forget to also look at the wardrobes of your family members and friends. Some old skeletons can turn into the best Halloween outfit you have ever had. Other easy options include thrift shopping or renting.
Halloween and COPS26?
Halloween 2021 coincides with the beginning of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this year. What a better time to make sure that you keep the magic of Halloween alive while also preserving the health and beauty of our planet for the next generations. Let them celebrate Halloween on Earth!