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Have a ‘Green’ Halloween in West Hartford this Year

Courtesy of Katherine Bruns

The Town of West Hartford’s recycling coordinator provides some statistics about Halloween, and some tips for reducing waste.

By Katherine Breer Bruns

Halloween is a sweet holiday as well as a frightfully wasteful one. Here are some freaky stats when it comes to Halloween.

All those spooky costumes and decorations? The average family spends about $75 (according to the National Retail Federation) on halloween decorations and costumes, most of which is disposable and gets tossed the day after Halloween.

Did you know that in the U.S. 900,000 tons of pumpkin is thrown away annually rather than used for food or composted? (source: World Economic Forum).  That is enough for 18 BILLION pieces of pie!

Going green for Halloween is a great opportunity to cut down on spending and have creative fun teaching our children to celebrate in ways that don’t contribute to trash and climate change. Remember it’s THEIR future we want to preserve for them!

Here are some easy tips for a less frighteningly-wasteful Halloween:

  • “Trick-or-Treat!” Skip the plastic pumpkins and bags. Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags a year (according to World Watch). Try making bags out of old t-shirts or have fun decorating a reusable bag.
  • Make your own costume or shop second hand stores. Store bought costumes are mass produced with lots of single-use packaging. They are shipped from abroad contributing to carbon emissions and waste. And they are expensive! Making your own costumes is a great opportunity to be creative and use odds and ends found around the home.
  • Eat your pumpkin! It takes about a pound of pumpkin to make a cup of pumpkin puree for pumpkin pies, muffins, and soup. And all those seeds? Roast them with salt and a little olive oil at 425ºF. Pumpkin seeds have a range of health benefits including helping with sleep, blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
  • Compost what’s left of your pumpkin. Don’t have a compost pile? Break the pumpkin down and scatter in your yard. It will return to the earth, providing nutrients for our soil. Pumpkin that goes to trash contributes to powerful methane gas and CO2 leaking into our atmosphere which is a frightful thought!

One last ghoulish tip: Those those plastic trick-or-treat pumpkins? They are neither compostable nor recyclable. They go in and haunt our trash. Scary!

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