By Allie Shaw
This Halloween, it’s estimated that 2000 tonnes of plastic waste will be produced from Halloween celebrations in the United Kingdom alone. To put this into perspective, this equates to 83 MILLION plastic Coca Cola bottles.
Frighteningly, these figures don’t even begin to unpack the total plastic waste footprint Halloween leaves every year. A 2019 study indicates that 30 million people dress up for Halloween in the UK, a measly figure when compared to America’s 173 million.
How’s that for a scary story?
The single-use nature of Halloween is wildly detrimental to our environment. Whilst it may be quick and convenient to buy a last-minute costume at the dollar shop, is our convenience really worth the throwaway plastic ending up in our oceans?
The glitter so often used at this time of year is completely non-recyclable and far too small for waste treatment facilities to capture. This results in tiny pieces of plastic heading straight to local waterways, making its way to our oceans. These microplastics are easily consumed by a large majority of marine life including mussels and fish, posing a threat to both the creatures that unknowingly consume these microplastics, and to the people who consume seafood.
Eco-friendly glitter means an environmentally-conscious sparkle: mica, a sparkling mineral is often used as a non-plastic alternative to glitter and can be found online alongside many plant-based glitters. Ensuring your products are sourced sustainably does not take too much effort and is vital to combating the global plastic pollution crisis that is polluting our environment. Pro tip: avoid glitter altogether!
A conscientious costume, such as something that has been upcycled from pre-loved materials in your closet, could save both the planet and your pocket. If getting crafty doesn’t interest you, hiring a costume from your local theatrical or costume store is a great alternative. This ensures the reuse of the costume for other consumers in future years and reduces waste significantly. Being mindful of unnecessary packaging when selecting your ‘treats’ and trying to avoid plastic decorations and gimmicks currently floating around supermarkets is an excellent waste-avoider too.
Here are our six top tips to staying green this Halloween:
- Make your own costume or hire one
- Serve organic candy and avoid plastic wrapping
- Recycle your pumpkin
- Plastic-free party supplies
- Avoid glitter
- Wear natural, vegan makeup if you’re decorating your face
The scary truth is that over 100,000 marine creatures die every year from marine debris including whales, turtles, dolphins, seals, penguins, albatross and sharks. So, go green this Halloween and frighten your friends, not the fish!