Zero-waste Halloween

Halloween waste is scarier than a holiday itself

Let’s look at some statistics, shall we?

Unfortunately, statistics suggest that Halloween waste is one of the most prolific and not only for the environment. Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. 

On average consumers plan to spend $102.74 on costumes, candy, decorations, and greeting cards — $10 more than they planned to spend last year.

Halloween costumes are generating a horrifying amount of plastic waste.

Last year, approximately $3.2 billion was spent on Halloween costumes in the United States.

The scariest part? About 83% of Halloween costumes are essentially single-use plastics, as they are made from polyester that’s non-recyclable. Sadly, most of the outfits are ending up in the trash bin after only one wear. Moreover, costumes are packed in non-biodegradable plastic.

Adding to the costume waste, consumers purchase plastic-based accessories including synthetic wigs, hats, masks, buckets, party decorations, makeup.

What you can do to cut down the waste:

  • Before buying a new costume, take a look in your closet to see if you can make one out of the things that you already own. 
  • Ask your friends if they want to swap costumes with you or consider renting one.
  • Otherwise, check out your local secondhand shop or OfferUp or Buy Nothing.  Not only will you save waste, but you’ll save money this way too! 

Rotting pumpkins can be scary too

1.6 billion pounds of pumpkins are left to rot in landfills every year. Like all food waste decomposing in landfills, rotting pumpkins produce methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.

What you can do:

  • Bring your pumpkin to your local composting site
  • Or add it to your compost bin.

Spooky candy wrappers 

In the United States alone, more than 600 million pounds of candy are purchased each year for Halloween. The vast majority of candy wrappers end up in landfills due to an inability by most curbside recycling programs to recycle them.

Try some plastic-free trick or treat options:

  • Foil-wrapped chocolates. Buy in bulk some chocolate wrapped individually in foil. Aluminum is recyclable. But don’t forget to clean it and to gather the aluminum all together before throwing away to facilitate the recycling process.
  • Fruit (apples, mandarines, bananas). Caramel apples are a traditional treat. 
  • Bake your own cookies, muffins and cupcakes Here are some delicious recipes.
  • Nuts
  • Or find niche recycling services like TerraCycle, Rubicon which handles materials that are difficult to recycle, keeping them out of landfills.

Looking for more tips for sustainable holidays?

Check out our blog post about eco-friendly Christmas decor

Happy Halloween ya’ll!

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