We know that Halloween is a lot like marmite...you either love it or hate it. BUT those that love it usually go all out? The costumes, the trick or treating and of course pumpkin carving. But what damage is all this doing to the environment?
Despite all the ghosts, ghouls and clowns we think the scariest thing about Halloween is the waste it generates!
Last year in the UK, 33 million of us dressed up for halloween, and 55% of people bought new clothing for the occasion. But on average according to environmental charity Hubbub UK, 7 million costumes are binned each year, meaning 4 in every 10 costumes are only worn once.
Things only gets worse when surveying the amount of plastic used in these costumes, 90% of halloween costumes are plastic meaning on average each costume contributes 0.38kg of plastic waste… multiplied by the 7 million wasted each year means 2.66 million KG’s of new plastic waste is thrown away each year… all as a result of one day of celebrating! To put this in perspective that’s the same as 667 4 TONNE elephants of plastic waste produced from Halloween celebrations EVERY single year.
And it’s not just the fashion industry, this time of year Instagram is full of pictures of people at pumpkin patches...but how many people use your pumpkins for more than decoration?
Food waste is another area feeling the brunt of halloween. Last year 15 million pumpkins were carved and then discarded. Statistics suggest that if every carved pumpkin was eaten last year, the UK would have generated enough food to make a bowl of soup for each person in the country! Although 45% of households claim that their pumpkins are placed in food waste bins after Halloween and around 28% claimed that they composted them, but that still leads to more than five million pumpkins heading to landfill each year.
So, can you still enjoy Halloween without sending bag-fulls to landfill the next day? We think so! So if you celebrate Halloween, here are 3 things you can do instead to be more sustainable this year...
- If you keep sweets to give out pick more earth friendly treats - try and find some package free, or perhaps some vegan options! Or bypass the sugar rush and give out useful treats.
- Decorations - if you’re the type to decorate pick your decorations carefully, pick ones built to last that you can get out year after year, instead of flimsy banners and bunting designed to last a day before heading for a one way trip to landfill.
- Take the #pumpkinrescue pledge and use your pumpkins! Head to Pinterest and get inventive with your food waste and use it to have a post halloween feast. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted, you can turn it into pumpkin jam, pie, soup… anything but food waste, the options are endless! Or, pumpkins make great chicken feed, why not see if anyone or anywhere local could use them for this purpose.