Sometime after Labor Day, retail stores across the United States explode with Halloween costumes, candies, and various disposable novelty items. As October 31 quickly approaches, the public is bombarded with ideas of how to create or where to buy the perfect Halloween decorations, the best candies, and the trendiest costumes. Last year, the National Retail Federation–the world’s largest retail trade association–estimated that total Halloween spending in the United States would reach $8.4 billion, or about $82.93 per person.
Fast forward to November 1. If you take a walk down the street you will probably see trash cans filled to the brim with candy wrappers, decorations, and other forms of holiday-related waste. Even if most people want to recycle their costumes or decorations, it’s unlikely that they will be able to. Halloween costumes and decorations are usually made of cheap, non-recyclable plastics that fill up landfills after use.
However, we have some simple ideas to integrate sustainability into the celebrations:
Don’t Carve Your Pumpkins (and Compost!)
It’s ironic that the time of year that brings us delicious pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks also yields the largest amount of pumpkin waste. Every time that I attend a pumpkin carving party there are huge piles of pumpkin pulp and seeds all over the place. As someone who loves pumpkin bread and roasted pumpkin seeds, this gross amount of waste is staggering.
According to edie.net–the UK-based market-leading information resource driving sustainability in business–statistics suggest that if every carved pumpkin was eaten in 2015, the United Kingdom would generate enough food to create one bowl of soup for each person in the country.
Instead of carving a pumpkin, consider just carving the outer skin or even drawing on the outside of the pumpkin. Once the holiday is over, scoop out the pulp and seeds for some delicious meals. And don’t forget to compost what you don’t use!
Send Trick-or-Treaters out with Reusable Pillow Cases or Canvas Bags
An easy way to cut back on the waste is by sending trick-or-treaters out with reusable bags to store their most prized possessions. Don’t over-think it by buying a fancy canvas bag online. Grab a pillowcase, reusable shopping bag, woven basket, or anything else you have laying around the house!
Recycle with TerraCycle
Everyone loves a challenge, so challenge your kids to hold onto all of their candy wrappers from Halloween. Once you have collected all of the wrappers, donate them to TerraCycle. TerraCycle is a company that is dedicated to truly eliminating waste. As stated on their website, “TerraCycle reuses, upcycles, and recycles waste instead of incinerating or landfilling it. This moves waste from a linear system to a circular one, allowing it to keep cycling in our economy.”
Trick-or-Treat in Your Neighborhood
The most environmentally friendly way to travel is also the cheapest–on foot! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 27% of total United States Greenhouse Gas Emissions come from transportation. Transportation includes cars, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, and other vehicles.
Instead of driving to another neighborhood to trick-or-treat, think about exploring your own neighborhood or apartment complex instead. If you absolutely have to travel, consider using a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation like the train or bus, or even carpooling with another family.
How are you going to go Green this Halloween?
Be sure to peep these ideas for rocking a sustainable Halloween costume and these 6 Cute Halloween Costume Ideas Already in Your Closet!
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Photo: Pxhere, Pexels