The spooky truth about Halloween recycling
Halloween is fast approaching, and it’s always fun to get involved, whether it’s a fancy-dress party or going trick or treating with the kids. There is one scary truth there is no getting away from and that’s the amount of waste generated every year during the celebrations. Whether it is from the tonnes of food waste, Halloween costumes or plastic decorations, it’s not a great time for the environment. Below are some facts and tips that can help you reduce your waste this year.
In the UK we grow around 10 million pumpkins every year. It’s no surprise that the majority of this happens seasonally around Halloween. Around 95% of all pumpkins sold become decorative pieces in and around our homes. With each pumpkin weighing roughly 14lbs, this results in approximately 60,000 tonnes of uneaten waste. Just because we aren’t eating them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recycle them – every last bit of a pumpkin can be recycled, the seeds, skin, flesh and stalk.
Every year over a quarter of Halloween pumpkins end up in landfill. This is around 18,000 tonnes and that number is growing. If your pumpkin ends up in landfill, it will eventually rot away and break down, but this is a long process which produces methane, a gas more potent than carbon dioxide and hugely damaging to the ozone.
By recycling your pumpkins, it is much more environmentally friendly. From your food bin, it will go to anaerobic digestion and convert the waste into biogas, a high energy renewable fuel. Lots of supermarkets now offer pumpkin waste sections where you can drop off your carved creations.
Food waste is the simplest household waste to recycle and many councils provide bins to ensure disposal is quick and easy for consumers. Your local authority website will have information on where you can easily dispose of your food waste if your council does not currently provide you with a food waste collection.
It is estimated that as a nation we spend around £500 million on Halloween costumes each year, most of which are only worn once or twice at the most. Around 7 million Halloween costumes are thrown away each year, resulting in 12,000 tonnes of textiles waste ending up in landfill.
Textile waste is still one of the biggest, with around 300,000 tonnes a year ending up in landfill. This year alone it’s estimated that the plastic content of Halloween costumes is equivalent to 83 million plastic bottles! With this in mind, why not think about alternatives this year? There are lots of ideas for DIY Halloween costumes using things you already have around the home and is a fun activity to get your little ones involved in too.
If you have no use for a previous years’ costume, why not take it to a charity shop or clothes recycling bank where it can be resold or recycled, pass it on to a friend who can make use of it in the future, or hold onto it and use it to create your decorations in the years to come.
Decorations are one of the harder items to recycle as the majority are black therefore, they are unable to be recycled. This means that most Halloween decorations unfortunately end up in landfill. It can take up to 1000 years for plastic to decompose in landfill, meaning that those pesky decorations hang around for a very, very long time.
Again, why not make your own decorations? There are many easy and inexpensive ways to do this. Google and Pinterest provide some fantastic, fun and inventive ideas on how to make creations with items around the house.
By recycling your pumpkins and making your own costumes and decorations, you can reduce your waste this Halloween and work towards creating a greener and cleaner environment.