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Nightmare on Collection Day: The Cost Of Halloween Waste

Halloween, you either love it or you hate it. For some, the excitement starts on the first day of October. Stocking up on chocolate, getting the pumpkins in and finding a topical costume (I’m expecting a lot of Squid Game guards this year) is an incredibly exciting time for many people all over the country. What people tend to forget, however, is just how much waste is created by this single day.

We’d like to talk about some of the biggest offenders, and how you can turn your potential ‘Scare Waste Project’ into something more positive, whether at work or at home.

 

Costumes

It’s estimated that big retailers are throwing away 83 million bottles worth of plastic in the form of Halloween costumes yearly. 

An investigation of 19 retail giants by Hubbub in 2019, discovered 83% of the material used in these costumes was polluting oil-based plastic likely to end up in landfill.

It’s not a huge difference, but making your outfit out of old clothes from your wardrobe, or second-hand ones, creates less demand for single-use plastic costumes that are more harmful to the environment.

Pumpkins

Unfortunately, food waste around Halloween is just as bad as plastic waste. 15 million pumpkins are carved and thrown away each year without being eaten. With the amount of waste created from carved pumpkins alone, you could make a bowl of soup for everyone in the country. 

Did you know that the seeds and guts of a pumpkin are edible?

The seeds can be dried, salted, drizzled with oil and baked for 30 minutes at 200°c (with a quick shake half way through!) as a tasty light snack- a great low calorie replacement for crisps.

The pulp can be used for a number of different things depending on what you prefer, here’s 7 of them, from a quick chutney to adding some extra oomph to your porridge in the morning.

 

Decorations

Halloween decorations bring joy to many, but using them for a night and throwing them away creates huge amounts of landfill waste. Fake skulls, spiderwebs and bats are notoriously hard to recycle, and anything with a battery causes huge amounts of long-term damage to the environment.

Our advice is to either create your own decorations (this can be a fun task if you’ve got children), or reuse the ones you do have every year. Batteries should be separated and recycled too, or else they’ll leak whilst rotting in a landfill.

 

Chocolate

This is more of an indirect effect of our waste issues. The US National Retail Federation has predicted that climate change will leave West Africa unable to grow cacao trees by as early as 2030. This area is responsible for almost three quarters of all global chocolate, so future halloweens may be less sweet in a number of ways.

Luckily, many of our current chocolate giants, including Mondelēz (owners of Cadbury’s, Oreo, Milka and Chips Ahoy), Nestlé and Mars are part of the Fairtrade Foundation. 

This means these companies can only use ethical and sustainable cacao, which will go some way to reducing those effects while protections are put in place.

 

Conclusion

Whether you love halloween, or you’re the spooky equivalent of a humbug, be sensible with your waste! If you’d like to book an extra collection, you can find the cheapest provider available here:

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