Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

The Envrionmentally Hellish Side Of Halloween and How To Green Your Fright Night

Published on October 26, 2016 by   ·   No Comments Pin It
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Halloween is the season of nasty surprises, and there’s none bigger than the thousands of tons of rubbish that ends up buried in a hole in the ground as a result of the spooky festival. It’s not that the trash has a curse on it – it’s far worse than that says the UK commercial waste and recycling company, BusinessWaste.co.uk. Because – according to these waste management experts – the days following the 31st October are a nightmare for the waste industry as it struggles to cope with mounds of plastic and non-recyclable trash that has to go to landfill. The problem is that most Halloween-themed merchandise is “single use”, and it gets thrown away almost immediately. “Halloween is like no other holiday in that it generates so much rubbish that gets used for a couple of hours at most. Cheap spooky costumes seem – at least to us – to be the biggest waste.” Halloween costumes can include PVC, a soft plastic and known carcinogen that releases harmful toxins in its creation and breakdown.

The Envrionmentally Hellish Side Of Halloween and How To Green Your Fright Night

Other items that can’t be recycled:

  • Plastic lamps and batteries
  • Novelty items
  • Costumes
  • Plastic masks
  • Witches’ hats
  • Devil’s tridents and horns
  • Decorations
  • Fake spider webs

“And because the manufacturers know that everything is disposable, and they tend to be at the budget end of the market, everything seems to be made with the cheapest possible materials,” says Hall. “Those Halloween costumes are made of such cheap materials there’s no way that they can be recycled. They either go to be burned or just get buried in landfill. What a waste of money and resources.” And then there’s the lamps and plastic novelties. “Mass-produced plastic, sold for a pound, and with cheap, leaking batteries,” the Business Waste spokesperson laments. “We can deal with the batteries if people bother to separate them into recyclable waste, but 99 percent of the time they don’t. Guess where it ends up? In a big hole in the ground, that’s where.” Of course, sending batteries to landfill is a nightmare scenario that should be avoided wherever possible. But with so many to find there’s a near 100 per cent certainty that the chemicals they contain will find their way into the environment. But it’s not all bad news. Last year BusinessWaste.co.uk called on households to recycle or compost their 18,000 tons of used pumpkins after years of rotting fruit filling Britain’s bin lorries. “That’s one nasty habit people have got themselves out of through enlightened recycling,” says Hall, “Now let’s say goodbye to the cheap plastic Halloween rubbish that ends up in landfill.”

The Envrionmentally Hellish Side Of Halloween and How To Green Your Fright Night

Alternatives:
  • Reuse costumes/ DIY from items you already have
  • Donate costumes when done to children’s charities
  • Buy eco-friendly/ better quality Halloween goods that can be stored, saved, and reused year to year
  • Decorate with pumpkins, gourds, pinecones, leaves, and nuts – then compost
  • Donate uneaten candy to Operation Gratitude who disperse it troops abroad
  • Swap costumes with friends
  • Give out organic candy or/ & small toys like pencils, stamps, or hand-beaded bracelets
  • Craft decorations out of paper and fabric left-overs (cue Pinterest!)

 

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