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Hallogreen: How We Can All Be More Sustainable At This Time of Year

2 min read

pile of pumpkins

What’s the scariest bit of Halloween? Is it the ghosts? The vampires? For us, it’s the amount of waste that will be created and not properly recycled. Millions of costumes, sweets, sweet wrappers, pumpkins and decorations are bought and thrown away each year. So, what can we do to be a bit more sustainable at this time of year, whilst not sucking the fun out of it?

Saying BOO to new costumes

According to a Hubbub study, an estimated 39 million people dress up for Halloween each year in the UK, with 90% of families buying new costumes each year. 69% of these costumes are made up of polyester, a fabric made from oil-based plastic. 2-in-5 of these costumes are only worn once before being thrown away, where they can take 500+ years to decompose in landfill.

Costumes are what makes Halloween fun, and we’re not trying to spoil that. But instead of buying a plastic mask, why not use makeup or face paint to give yourself a spooky makeover, and see what costumes you can put together with what you already have in your wardrobe? Alternatively, renting a costume is a great idea! 

Plastic pumpkin buckets can be fun to take trick-or-treating, but they’ll end up haunting the earth if they’re chucked in a landfill, taking 20-500 years to decompose. Just think, if Shakespeare had gone trick-or-treating with a little plastic pumpkin bucket, that bucket would still be sitting in landfill today. If that doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies, I don’t know what will! 

Avoiding the Jack-o’-Landfill 

Every October, the UK wastes around 13 million pumpkins, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Every part of a pumpkin can be recycled – or used!

If you want to go zero-waste with your pumpkins, try adding pumpkin to your meals, making it into a purée, or slicing the skin up and turning them into crisps. If you don’t fancy eating the seeds, leave them out for your garden visitors – squirrels and birds will thank you.

Whatever you do with your pumpkins, make sure you put anything left over in your food waste bin or compost (remember to remove candles first!). If they end up in landfill they’ll release methane, a gas more harmful than carbon dioxide, and can take 20+ years to decompose, as opposed to the 8-12 weeks it’ll take to break down if chopped up in compost.

Bringing decorations to life

This year we want to encourage you to get creative with your decorations as well. Instead of buying single-use decorations, get the kids making and gluing during half-term. Turn old sheets into ghosts; make paper decorations to hang around the house; stick some lollipop sticks together to make skeletons; or raid the craft box for some pom poms and pipe cleaners to turn into spiders. These can be used again and again, so you don’t need to worry about spending money every October.

By making a few small changes, we can all do our bit in reducing the impact on the environment, whilst still enjoying the festivities. Go and have fun, but just remember to re-use, recycle, and reduce waste where possible by not buying single-use plastics.

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