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The frightening impact of Halloween waste

24.10.19

EVERY year more than 7 million Halloween costumes are thrown away; it’s estimated that this is the equivalent to the same weight as 83 million plastic bottles.

Over 30 million people dress up for Halloween every year with oil-based plastic polymers, such as polyester, being the most common material for costumes.

This year people are being asked to enjoy the popular holiday responsibly and to consider making and reusing their own costumes and using Halloween decorations that can be re-used or recycled such as ceramic lanterns or paper chain decorations

Although consumers are being reminded to consider plastic-waste during the Halloween period, calls are being made for retailers and manufacturers of Halloween items to take action.

Suggestions have been made that it needs to be clearer to consumers that polyester is a plastic-based item. People are urged to reuse their Halloween costumes or buy the most environmentally friendly options such as those made with recycled material.

Some Halloween costumes can be made with a high percentage of recycled content, for example some plastic bottles can be flaked, melted and spun into yarn to create polyester clothing and have a second life as recycled materials rather than costumes being made from virgin plastic.

Charities Hubbub and The Fairyland Trust worked in partnership to gather statistics from over 300 textile items from 19 major UK retail outlets.

Further research from Hubbub suggests that 33 million people dressed up for Halloween in 2017 with almost 40% of these costumes being worn only once.

According to charitable organisation the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which aims to encourage the next generation into a circular economy, it costs £82 million a year to landfill clothes in the UK.

Hopefully with some small changes, Halloween can be as environmentally friendly as it is fun.

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