Halloween produces a lot of waste. But it doesn’t have to. Here’s how to reduce your impact on the spookiest holiday of the year.
The most frightful holiday of the year produces a lot of waste for a single night of thrills. But it doesn’t have to. Here’s how to have a more eco-friendly Halloween.
As the tidal wave of cheap polyester costumes and candy wrappers approaches, it’s hard not to be bummed about the amount of waste Halloween produces. Around 7 million synthetic costumes — the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles — get thrown out each year, and millions of pounds of pumpkins end up in landfills.
The good news is there plenty of ways to enjoy a spooky good time and still be conscious of your impact. Here are 7 simple ways to have a more eco-friendly Halloween. Happy haunting!
Read more: How to Repurpose Your Halloween Pumpkins
Terracycle specializes in recycling the unrecyclable. The company’s recycling programs have found ways to break down and repurpose even the most stubborn of waste streams, all the way down to cigarette butts and — you guessed it — candy wrappers. All you have to do is order a recycling box, fill it up, ship it back, and they take care of the rest.
Go in on a box with a neighbor or set one up in your office and make it a contest to see who can collect the most wrappers. Spread the word to your friends and family, and you’ll save thousands of candy wrappers from the landfill this year.
Glitter-lovers rejoice — the shiny microplastic has gotten an eco-friendly makeover. Typically, glitter is made of plastic. And these tiny pieces end up in our environment and waterways, harming ecosystems and wildlife. Luckily, biodegradable varieties have cropped up so you can bring on the glitter without harming the planet.
Eco Startdust makes biodegradable glitter that’s safe for your skin and comes in a range of vibrant colors, from gold and purple to yellow, pink, green, and black. Meanwhile, Hemway makes biodegradable glitter specifically created for crafting. Here’s your official permission to get your glitter on.
Halloween costumes from the store are generally awful. Plus, they’re usually made of polyester and plastic packaging, both of which are bad for humans and the environment. And let’s face it, most people throw out their store-bought costumes after the trick-or-treating and parties are over.
The solution? Upcycle items you already own to craft a unique costume. That old sheet can transform into a ghost. The next time you get a large delivery, keep the cardboard box, cut a few holes for legs, and be, well… a cardboard box. Have a yellow dress or shirt lying around? Make a green construction paper hat and go as a pineapple. Cut circles from black paper and tape them to a red shirt to become a ladybug. Use your imagination, and get creative!
If you don’t have a creative bone in your body, we get it. Go secondhand instead. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, resell sites like eBay, Poshmark, and ThredUp get flooded with costumes and spooky accessories. When in doubt, check the local thrift store.
Pumpkins only last about a week once they’ve been carved into Jack-o-lanterns. Rather than toss them in the garbage, compost them. If you don’t have a compost pile, ask around in your local Facebook groups and communities — there might be someone close by who’d be happy to have yours!
If you’re throwing a party, you want things to be as easy as possible. But this year, pass on the plastic cutlery and plastic-coated plates. Compostable party supplies are everywhere and are a sustainable alternative that you and your guests can feel good about. You can likely find biodegradable and compostable options at the local grocery store. If you’re in a pinch, you can also order them online.
Read more: 3 Easy No-Carve Jack-O-Lantern Ideas
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