Waste less this Halloween

Candy wrappers (iStock21641531)As old Hallow’s eve draws near, costume ideas and sugary treats are on a lot of people’s minds.

It is a fun and festive fall celebration, and one that can also create a large amount of waste with disposable candy wrappers and single-use decorations and costumes. In October 2011, Canadians bought 356 million dollars worth of candy. That adds up to a lot of wrappers being thrown away.

This Halloween it is important to understand how to sort out waste properly into the Blue Box, GreenCart, yard waste or garbage. It may seem overwhelming or not worth the effort, but do not fear!

Here are a few tips on how to handle your waste this Halloween and still have a spooktacular time!

Trick or Treating

When sending your little princesses and super heroes out trick or treating this Halloween, select a reusable treat collection bag. To reduce waste going to the landfill, try not to purchase disposable plastic bags and use something you have around the house already: old pillow cases! You can let your kids decorate their own pillow case and keep it for reuse year after year. No waste to sort there! Plus, pillow cases hold far more candy than any disposable plastic bag!

Costumes are another area where we can waste less during Halloween. Reusable costumes are best: swap with a friend or family member, or visit a reuse centre in Halton Region to see if they have a costume you’re looking for. When you are done with the costume, don’t throw it out! Donate it back to a reuse centre, give it to a friend or save it for another family member in the years to come. Try to avoid purchasing plastic single-use costumes that will end up in the landfill.

Once the hard work is done and the candy is collected, those wrappers start to pile up. If a tasty treat has come in a box (like Smarties), put the empty cardboard box in the Blue Box. Most candy and chocolate wrappers contain materials such as foil and plastic and will need to be placed in the garbage. As an alternative to the garbage bag, you may want to collect these types of wrappers and create something unique out of them.

Halloween Parties and Decorations

If you are hosting a haunted house or costume party this Halloween, it is important to properly sort out any waste. Keep Blue Boxes and GreenCarts easily accessible around your party room for guests to use. If choosing to use disposable plates or cutlery, opt for paper plates and wooden cutlery which can be placed into the GreenCart. Plastic plates or cups are recyclable in your Blue Box. Plastic cutlery is garbage. Rinse all items and ensure they are clean and free of grease, liquid or food.

A creative way to reduce Halloween party waste is to make edible decorations that can be eaten or placed in the GreenCart. I personally love these creepy shrunken apple heads in apple cider or placed around a room as décor!

Pumpkins, gourds, leaves, twigs and corn husks are all commonly used décor items at this time of year. To get the most of out of your pumpkin, use any carved out flesh to do some baking or plant the seeds to start growing your pumpkin for next fall! If you don’t want to reuse your pumpkin or gourds, all of these items can be placed out for yard waste collection when you are done with them. For wasteless décor options, visit a local reuse centre and purchase items that can be reused, or you can borrow décor items from a friend or make your own!

By making the most of reusable costumes and décor, as well as properly sorting items into your Blue Box, GreenCart, and yard waste, it’s easy to waste less this year on Halloween!

How do you plan on greening your Halloween?

About Melynda Paterson

Hi I'm Melynda, a Waste Management Program Coordinator with Halton Region. I graduated from McMaster University with an honours degree in Geography and completed the Environmental Management graduate program at Niagara College. Some of my responsibilities include monitoring garbage bag limits and illegal dumping. Also, I help with multi-residential waste diversion programs and am the keeper of a database that houses important waste collection information for properties across the Region.
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One Response to Waste less this Halloween

  1. get smart says:

    When sending your little princesses and super heroes out trick or treating this Halloween, select a reusable treat collection bag. To reduce waste going to the landfill, try not to purchase disposable plastic bags and use something you have around the house already: old pillow cases! You can let your kids decorate their own pillow case and keep it for reuse year after year. No waste to sort there! Plus, pillow cases hold far more candy than any disposable plastic bag!

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