Seasonal Waste: A Look at Halloween and Our Planet
Written by: Cassidy O'Lear
Fall is in full swing and with it we’ve welcomed the trees changing colors, cooler temperatures and best of all, the anticipation of Halloween. Even in the midst of the pandemic many of us will still find a way to dress up, put up decorations, and indulge in candy, but one thing very few consider is the waste the holiday season often brings. In fact, most people are entirely unaware of some of the downsides of Halloween traditions.
Did you know that the vast majority of pumpkins bought in the US around this time of year will end up in a landfill? According to the World Economic Forum, the majority of the 900,000 tons of pumpkins produced each year will be thrown away. There are simple steps you can take to avoid adding to the problem. Use your pumpkin for one of the thousands of seasonal recipes out there. If you’re not a whiz in the kitchen, take the time to compost it.
Pumpkins aren’t the only culprit creating waste at Halloween. Costumes and festive decor contribute huge amounts of plastic pollution to our oceans. One Green Planet reported that about 83% of the material used for costumes are made from oil-based plastics. Many of the decorations people purchase are also made from plastic including fake spiders and jack-o-lanterns among a long list of other items. A study last year predicted that costumes alone would constitute as much as 2000 tons of plastic waste.
There’s no need to contribute to such excessive amounts of waste when there are so many alternatives available. Even if you’re aren’t a DIY expert, anyone can get creative with old newspapers, the leaves in your backyard, or other sustainable materials that will make festive, eco-friendly decorations. There’s also the option to create your own costume from the clothes in your closet, reuse ones from past years or try shopping at thrift stores to put an outfit together.
It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement that comes with Halloween, but no matter the time of year we need to consider how our actions and purchases are affecting the environment. Substituting your usual purchases and traditions for more sustainable products and practices is one way you can invest in the future of our planet.