After Halloween, how do you best recycle the outfits you will never wear again or the plastic props which will be forgotten about until your next spring clean?
This Halloween, most of us are looking for the perfect costume to wear, spookiest decorations to put up and most importantly - the biggest pumpkin to carve. But whilst Halloween is undeniably one of the most exciting holidays, it is also one of the least environmentally-friendly ones. According to a study by the Fairyland Trust, UK Halloween celebrations generate over 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste from clothing and costumes alone. So, if you want to make sure that your Halloween celebration won’t have a scary lasting effect on the environment, below are some top tips to get you started on the way.
When it comes to costumes the best way to reduce your plastic waste is to put something together yourself. You can either use your own wardrobe or go to your local charity shop and recycle some pre-loved clothes. In case you’ve already got a plastic costume, worry not! You can always donate them at the charity shop as well and let someone else enjoy them in 2020.
Look around online
If you’re lazy like me and prefer to online shop you can always look for second-hand costumes on apps like Depop. Alternatively, if you’ve already got your costume and don’t know what to do with it after Halloween, you might consider selling it on Depop. This tip is not only good for the environment but can also save you some serious cash.
Look at the labels
This might sound obvious, but the best way to avoid plastic waste is - to not buy costumes that are made of plastic. According to Fairyland Trust, many consumers do not even realise that materials like polyester are in fact plastic. If you’re buying a brand new costume make sure that it’s made of cotton, viscose or other non-plastic materials.
Buy for life
The best tip costume-wise is to consider buying items that you can wear regularly throughout the year not just on Halloween. Whether you shop at big retailers like H&M and Primark or prefer ethical clothing like People Tree you will definitely find an item that works for a costume and can also be incorporated into your everyday wardrobe.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to go bonkers on Halloween and decorate your entire flat, make sure that your decorations are sustainable. You can do that by buying biodegradable balloons that are eco-friendly alternatives to regular balloons. Another option is to make your own decorations by repurposing old black tights for a spider web and even making fake-blood at home using corn syrup and red food colouring!
If you’ve already bought a load of plastic spiders or are stuck with an abundance of plastic cups after your party make sure that you recycle as much as you can, instead of just throwing things in the bin. The packaging should give information about whether or not your item can be recycled but you can also look it up online using a recycling locator.
According to a #PumpkinRescue campaign by environmental waste charity Hubbub, the UK will waste 8m pumpkins this Halloween, the same weight as 1,500 double-deckers. Hubbub found that only a third of consumers use the pumpkin flesh while others simply bin it. But pumpkin flesh can be used for soups, delicious pies and muffins or even mulled wine. You can also roast the seed for a snack.
Stick to carving
An important tip is to avoid painting on your pumpkin and stick to carving instead. This will ensure that your pumpkin can be composted instead of having to go to the bin.
As with most food waste pumpkins can be returned to the earth by the simple act of composting. If you live in a flat but would still like to get into composting I would recommend using the ShareWaste app. It helps you connect with a community garden close by and in need of food scraps.
When it comes to achieving an entirely eco-friendly Halloween, the most important advice anyone can give you is to plan ahead. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to browse through those charity shops and create those homemade decorations. Be informed about the materials you should avoid and your recycling options. It might seem like a lot of effort at times but remember: there is no planet B.