Have you ever considered how much plastic is used and wasted during the Halloween season?
This week, a friend of mine enlightened me to a few statistics and I’m ashamed to say that it hadn’t previously occurred to me just how wasteful this holiday period is.
We all know about food, paper and plastic waste at Christmas (please at least use recycled wrapping paper) and that plastic straws are the devils work but what happens over Halloween?
Some of the stats I found
- 12,500 tons of Halloween costumes get sent to landfill each year
- 99% of batteries are not recycled properly and are merely discarded out with the waste on 1st November.
- 18000 pumpkins are sent to landfill every year.
- Stats taken from 6 major retailers showed that 90% of Halloween costumes are plastic (largely polyester and nylon). This alone creates 2600 tons of extra plastic waste. Equivalent to 100 million plastic Coca Cola bottles.
I struggled to find exact statistics around the waste involved in holding Halloween parties but I can imagine they’re horrendous with all the plastic covered paper plates/cups/packaged foods generally involved. The stats above are just general, UK based and from the past year or so.
What can we do instead?
- If you want to hand out sweets then an obvious one is to look for sweets that are not covered in plastic. Boxes of Smarties and foil wrapped individual chocolates are much better.
- Consider handing out something other than sweets? How about…
- You know all those plastic pumpkins that kids go around collecting sweets with? Perhaps use something else. My kids have little baskets or you can easily find other things around the house that you already have. Decorate a small box? Use a felt witches hat? There is always some sort of collecting vessel lying around!
- Decorations – if you have the time and love to do crafts then spend a few hours across a week or so making some new ones. The kids will love it and you don’t have to buy reams and reams of plastic that will just get thrown away the next day. Here are some super cute ideas. I absolutely love the pumpkin felt bag ideas for handing out treats to friends.
- If you do make decorations – try to ensure they are either reusable or compostable.
Image from Life Without Plastic
- Costumes – make your own! I remember a friend of Elsa’s dressing up as a pirate in her mums stripy t shirt as a dress, a big belt and black boots, a felt hat and a drawn on beard. She looked awesome! Elsa wants to dress Emmeline up as Yoda this year (!) so I’ll be doing my best to make it from stuff we already have…any ideas gratefully received haha
- Check out charity shops for bits and pieces that you can use for your costume/decorations. These places are gold mines for inspiration, costume additions and accessories.
- If you are having a Halloween party then use recyclable plates, cups and cutlery. Ranges such as these from Eco Party Time are fantastic because they are all biodegradable and will not contribute to landfill.
- Make as much of the food yourself as you can. You know when your shopping arrives and it’s absolutely laden in plastic? Avoid this by buying the simple ingredients and making spooky food yourself. It can be as easy or as complex as you like. I once made spider shaped sandwiches, witches fingers, bat biscuits and a few other bits and pieces for a party Elsa had and it was perfect! Here are some recipe ideas from the BBC Good Food website or these from Good Housekeeping
Halloween doesn’t have to be wasteful. It takes a little extra effort to make your own bits and pieces but we need to be mindful of what we are doing to impact the environment. Images of sea life suffering because of our lack of awareness haunt me on a daily basis so I intend to do all I can to have a plastic-free Halloween.
*stats from the Fairyland Trust