How to Reduce Halloween Waste

Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations are a staple of the holiday. In the U.S. and Puerto Rico, most children dress up and go ‘trick-or-treating’ so that they get candy. However, Halloween candy is not as harmless; especially given the fact that it comes in individual packaging. Individually packaged candy creates a lot more waste. Candy wrappers are coated paper and they’re very small, so they’re not recyclable because they cannot be processed into new paper. Therefore, do not put them in a recycling bin. If the candy is unwrapped, then it can go in organic waste. An alternative to individually packaged candy is making your own treats at home or buying a large bag of candy that is not individually packaged. However, the downside to this is that nobody really knows somebody else’s intentions, so you would be better off only accepting this type of treats from someone you know and trust. 

Moreover, thousands of Halloween costumes are thrown away each year. Therefore, it would be preferable to not purchase most plastic-based synthetic wigs, costumes, masks, and hats; if you do purchase them, make sure to repurpose them. One solution to this problem would be to donate them, save them to be used again, or to purposefully reuse the fabric. As well as making costumes from recyclable materials and to trade costumes with others. If you throw the costumes away, make sure that the fabric goes into the correct container. Although, since many cannot be recycled, you could also donate them to a thrift store. In San Germán, there are a lot of different containers next to pharmacies and grocery stores that are there for recycling textiles. This alternative allows you to recycle old costumes correctly so that they do not end up in landfills, but make sure the fabric of the costume is apt to be recycled in these bins. Most Halloween costumes are made out of polyester and a blend of other materials, making them almost impossible to recycle. Additionally, the majority of makeup containers and packaging are not recyclable, and Halloween makeup is no exception. So, do not be fooled if they come in a plastic packaging; not everything that is plastic can be recycled. Do some research and look for great eco-friendly makeup brands that also sell Halloween and special effects makeup. 

Halloween parties and decorations are another Halloween tradition. Items like jack-o’-lanterns can be disposed of in an organic waste container. While the waste from parties, such as cups, soda cans, bottles, and cardboard, can be separated from the rest of the trash and recycled, make sure that everything is dry and empty before putting it in a recycling container. On the other hand, Halloween decor can be given away to others, saved for next year or donated to a thrift store. This will help with reusing and creating less waste in the long run. String lights can also be saved or given away; if they no longer have any use, there are many mail-in recycling programs that safely dispose of items with cords and batteries. 

When looking for costumes or decorations for next year, make sure that you visit thrift shops or ask your friends if they have anything from previous years. As well as making your own costumes and decorations from recycled materials; this can also serve as a fun activity to do with the people you’re close to.

Being responsible with how we handle the waste we create can go a long way, especially considering the current state of our environment. Halloween is a fun holiday, but it is not worth harming our environment further. For this reason, make sure that you look for alternatives in decorations, costumes, candy, and other Halloween items for your celebration. Reducing our use of single-use plastics, and other materials that harm our environment and pollute our oceans, is imperative in the fight against climate change.