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Collection Day Nightmares: The Environmental Toll of Halloween Waste

Opinions on Halloween vary widely – it’s either a beloved celebration or a dreaded event. For enthusiasts, the anticipation builds from the first day of October, involving chocolate hoarding, pumpkin picking, and the quest for the perfect costume (expecting a surge of Squid Game guards this year). Amidst the excitement, what often escapes notice is the significant waste generated on this single day.

Let’s delve into some major culprits and explore how you can transform your potential “Scare Waste Project” into a more positive endeavor, whether at home or work.

Costumes Major retailers discard an estimated 83 million plastic bottles’ worth of material annually in the form of Halloween costumes. In a 2019 investigation of 19 retail giants by Hubbub, it was found that 83% of the costume materials consisted of polluting oil-based plastic likely destined for landfills. While it might not seem like a monumental change, opting for outfits made from your wardrobe’s old clothes or second-hand items reduces the demand for environmentally harmful single-use plastic costumes.

Pumpkins Regrettably, food waste during Halloween rivals plastic waste. Each year, 15 million pumpkins are carved and discarded without being consumed. The waste from carved pumpkins alone could be repurposed to make soup for the entire country. Fun fact: pumpkin seeds and guts are edible! The seeds can be transformed into a tasty snack, while the pulp has versatile uses, from chutneys to enhancing morning porridge.

Decorations Halloween decorations bring joy, but the practice of using them for a single night and then discarding them contributes significantly to landfill waste. Items like fake skulls, spiderwebs, and bats are challenging to recycle, and battery-operated decorations pose long-term environmental threats. Our recommendation is to either craft your own decorations, a fun task especially with children, or reuse existing ones. Remember to separate and recycle batteries to prevent leakage in landfills.

Chocolate An indirect consequence of our waste issues is their impact on chocolate production. The US National Retail Federation predicts that climate change could render West Africa unable to grow cacao trees as early as 2030. This region produces almost three-quarters of the world’s chocolate. Fortunately, major chocolate companies, including Mondelēz (owner of Cadbury’s, Oreo, Milka, and Chips Ahoy), Nestlé, and Mars, are part of the Fairtrade Foundation, committing to the use of ethical and sustainable cacao.

In Conclusion Whether you’re a Halloween enthusiast or a spooky skeptic, exercise prudence with your waste. If you’re considering an extra collection, find the most economical provider here: