Oct 24, 2018

Happy Hallo-Green: Five Tips to Use Less Plastic This Season

Spooky season is here, and many families will be stocking up on candies, decorations, and costumes to celebrate this Halloween. Though this middle-of-fall tradition is an annual favorite for many, like the winter holidays, Halloween celebrations are notoriously bad for the environment. Many rush to stores looking for the perfect partyware, only to discard products as soon and November arrives.

Halloween is scary, but climate change and pollution are even scarier. Use less plastic and be kind to the planet this October 31 by following these tips:

  1. Give out Plastic-Free Candy and Toothbrushes
    Single-use packaging of all kinds is one of the biggest contributors to landfill waste and oil consumption. In order to give out safe candy, you still have to get storebought stuff, but there are plenty of candy options available that pass parental candy checks. Candies like Dots, Hershey kisses, Nerds, Whoppers, and Junior Mints all come in cardboard or foil wrappings, which are a little more eco-friendly. If you're someone who gives out toothbrushes as healthier treats, look for wooden, biodegradable brushes with cardboard packaging instead of plastic materials.
  2. Ditch the Fake Pumpkin
    Instead of using plastic pumpkins or plastic bags to hold candy while out trick-or-treating, use a reusable cloth bag or a paper bag. You can even sew and decorate your own treat sack as part of a homemade (plastic-free) costume!
  3. Use Flashlights Instead of Glowsticks
    Flashlights can be used again and again, but glowsticks last mere hours before heading to the dump. For extra visibility, use lights with rechargeable batteries and reflectors on costumes, and leave the glow sticks on the store shelves.
  4. Re-Use Decorations Next Year
    Many decorations are made with harmful plastics, like fake spider webs and decorative caution tape. Hang decor in a way that makes take-down simple, so that you can store the decorations for next year. Or, better yet, choose decorations like pumpkins and corn stalks, which are all-natural and biodegradable.
  5. Throw Plastic-Free Halloween Parties
    Plastic cups, forks, and tablecloths commonly used for parties are also big contributors to plastic waste. If you can, try to choose paper products, which are more easily recycled and less likely to end up in the ocean. An even better option would be to use reusable dishes and decorations, like linen tablecloths and washable ceramic. Be mindful about the foods and beverages you serve, too--every hour, Americans use about 2.5 million plastic bottles. Don't serve sodas and waters in single-serve bottles, and cut back on food packaging by choosing beverages in glass, or by making your own drinks and treats from scratch.
By following these five tips, you can still have a spooktacular Halloween, without hurting the environment.

Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.

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