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One of the scariest aspects of Halloween is the impact that it has on the environment. With shops flooding their shelves with plastic and millions of pumpkins going into bins across the country, here are four ways you can give people a fright without harming the planet.
How to Be Spooky and Sustainable this Halloween
1. Eat and Recycle Your Pumpkins
Every year, around eight million pumpkins are thrown away after having been used to make jack-o-lanterns. But there’s no reason you can’t create these classic decorations and be environmentally sustainable at the same time.
The first step is not to throw away any of the pulp and seeds from when you carve out the inside of your pumpkins. Everything that comes out of your pumpkin is edible and can be used to create a variety of delicious festive meals, including soups to keep you warm during the dark evenings, and cakes to keep your sugar high going after you’ve eaten all of your Halloween sweets.
Eating your pumpkins is a great way to stay healthy and to prevent any unnecessary food waste from being produced, but after it’s equally important to ensure you dispose of the lantern sustainably. Carved pumpkins should be put in a food recycling bin, ensuring they’re not sent to landfill and diverting them to specialised facilities that harness the decomposition process to generate energy for homes in the UK.
2. Say No to Plastic
Plastic is everywhere on Halloween, but it doesn’t have to be. A great way to reduce the amount of plastic you use is to make your own decorations. Leave the plastic skeletons on the shelf at the shop and try something new like making colourful lanterns out of reusable jars, using a pair of scissors to turn paper into spiders’ webs or bats, or creating your own scary ghost using a white sheet.
Two ways that you can further cut plastic out of your Halloween by giving the trick-or-treaters who come to your door sweets that are either home-made or come in recyclable packaging, and by making sure you don’t use any glitter when decorating your home or making your costume. Plenty of sweets now come in sustainable wrappers, and glitter is full of microplastics which contribute to ocean plastic pollution, which leads us on to how to create a sustainable costume…
3. Hit the Charity Shops for Your Costume Needs
According to environmental charities The Fairyland Trust and Hubbub, 83% of materials used to create Halloween costumes are plastic. And on top of that, seven million costumes are thrown away each year. They are also largely unrecyclable and therefore generate a huge amount of unnecessary waste.
Instead of contributing to this problem, it’s best to get creative and create a cost-effective and sustainable costume by digging through your wardrobe to see if you have anything you can modify easily, or heading down to your local charity shop to get what you need. This will mean you won’t be contributing to the demand for more cheap plastic-based clothing to be made, along with being a guarantee that you’ll turn up to the party wearing something unique. If you are struggling for inspiration, the DIY Playbook has created a guide to 8 GENIUS Halloween Costumes To Make From Leftover Boxes.
4. Reduce Disposable Waste At Your Party
Halloween parties can generate a tonne of waste, especially if the cutlery is disposable. 40 billion single use plastic utensils are thrown away each year. So, at your socially distanced, 6 person halloween party, use washable or biodegradable utensils, to avoid unnecessary waste. Top tip – label the cutlery with a washable marker to identify the party go-ers cutlery, reducing utensils and promoting reuse.