Reduce Your Carbon Footprint this Halloween!
There is no question that our planet is suffering, because of human beings, and the lifestyles we have. Plastic pollution and emissions control have been front page news, for a while now, insisting that our planet will not survive much longer, at the pace we are going.
Holidays are a time for celebration, fun, family, and often… waste. Halloween is a fun time for adults and children, alike. We at Gulf Coast Environmental Systems love this time of year, and the festivities that come with it. Please implement this quick list of ideas on how you ghouls and goblins can reduce your carbon footprint, this year.
- Use reusable and non-disposable methods of treat distribution and collection.
If you are throwing a party, you may be tempted to buy the cut pumpkin themed plates and napkins from your local party store. RESIST! There are ways to dress up non-disposable dishes and containers, to make them appear more festive, so you are not left with a trashcan full of paper and plastic products. If you plan on trick or treating, use a reusable bag. Decorating a pillow case, or picking out a fun reusable trick or treat bag, instead of using disposable plastic or paper bags, is the way to go! Candy already produces so much waste, with all of the individual packaging, using a non-disposable bag to collect it is the responsible thing to do.
- Recycle, re-purpose, and trade costumes.
Purchasing a new costume, or multiple new costumes each year produces a lot of waste. The manufacturing process, the packaging process, and shipping process, all produce toxic air emissions. Consider donating your used costumes, so those who may not be able to afford a new costume each year, have more options. Re-purpose parts of past costumes, to make something new and creative! This gets you more use out of the money you spend, and reduces the number of costumes that need to be produced. Another options is to trade with a friend. Did you go as Superman last year, and your buddy went as Rockstar? This year, trade costumes! This saves you both a little money, and reduces your carbon footprint.
Pumpkins are a huge part of Halloween celebrations in some parts of the world. We carve them, stick a candle in them, and let our neighbors enjoy our squash masterpieces. But when Halloween passes, the pumpkin is often thrown in the trash, and forgotten about. Instead of tossing your pumpkin-Picasso, call your local farms and zoos, and see if they could use it. Often times, they give them to their animals as enrichment, or even a nice seasonal snack. If you chose not to carve your pumpkin, considering breaking it down for cooking. Pumpkin seeds are a delicious, crunchy little snack, and great with a little salt, or cinnamon sugar. You can also use the flesh of the pumpkin to make pies, soups, and many other delicious holiday dishes. Throw your chopped up pumpkin in the freezer for a couple weeks, and take it out just in time for your Thanksgiving feast.
- Use eco-friendly decorations.
There are a few ways to make your frightfully awesome decorations more environmentally friendly. If you are putting up lights, or using a light projector, choose LED options. LED bulbs use less energy, and last significantly longer than traditional bulbs. Another great way to green-up your ghoulish décor is to shop at local farmer’s markets. Getting locally and handmade decorations gives you a little something extra, all while supporting local business, and reducing emissions. Making your own decorations out of household items, like toilet paper rolls, and yarn, give you that ever-popular rustic look, while entertaining your children, and helping reduce waste.
Halloween candy is great; there is no denying that. But each year, all those tiny plastic candy wrappers end up in landfills, on the ground, and even in the ocean. Be different, and provide small toy items to trick-or-treaters, instead. Glow-sticks, bouncy balls, notepads, stickers, and vampire teeth are all fun alternatives to candy, that can be enjoyed more than one time, and do not leave tiny little wrappers all over the ground. You may find yourself the most popular house on the block, because your bucket has something cool, and exciting. By providing non-food related treats, you also help include children who may have otherwise not been able to have participated in the festivities. There is actually an initiative call the Teal Pumpkin Project, which encourages people to provide non-food items for trick-or-treaters. This initiative aims to include children with food allergies, diabetes, feeding tubes, sensory issues, and other conditions that stop them from eating candy. This means that by providing non-food related items, you are reducing the amount of waste produced, and helping a child be included, when they otherwise may not have been.
We here at GCES encourage you to take these steps, when considering your Halloween festivities, this year, and every year. Using LED light bulbs may not save the planet, but everyone taking small steps will greatly reduce the effects we as humans alone have on climate change, and pollution. Stay tuned for more eco-friendly tips from us, this holiday season.