Halloween is upon us and it is easier than ever to “go green.” According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than 148 million U.S. adults plan to participate in Halloween activities this year and will spend on average $92.12 – up almost 7% from 2019 – on costumes, decorations and candy. Total spending is expected to reach $8 billion.
In addition to the waste from costumes and decorations, on average, an additional 1 pound of garbage per trick-or-treater is generated. This results in hundreds of tons of Halloween waste in Oneida and Herkimer Counties. “The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) offers tips to “green” your Halloween to benefit the environment and your wallet,” stated Jamie Tuttle, Authority Recycling Educator.
Get creative with decorations. Use natural Halloween decorations like gourds, pumpkins, mums and corn stalks – they can be composted when you’re through with them. Turn recycled paper into window decorations like spiders, pumpkins or witch hats. Paint grocery bags Halloween white for ghostly effects or make a graveyard scene with paper tombstones and spooky trees. After Halloween, send your paper decorations on for recycling.
Make your own costume. Halloween would not be the same without a costume. Skip the racks of expensive, plastic costumes and come up with creative ideas for homemade costumes and win the Authority’s virtual costume contest! If you have no sewing skills or anything costume-worthy in your closet, check out secondhand stores or host a costume swap with friends. Check out the “Go Green for Halloween” Costume Contest by visiting Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority on Facebook and Instagram!
Collect your treats in reusable bags. Instead of spending your money on plastic pumpkins and plastic Halloween bags, use old pillowcases or reusable shopping bags for trick-or-treating. You can even make them festive by decorating them to match your costume! The Authority is providing FREE reusable bags for children at its EcoDrops Utica and Rome through October 31st during regular business hours. Visit www.ohswa.org for locations and hours of operation.
Stay local and walk instead of drive. Stick close to home this Halloween and walk to help reduce air pollution and fuel use. It’s also a great way to connect with the neighbors and get some exercise!
Compost your pumpkins. You can add pumpkins, gourds, mums and corn stalks to your compost pile! If you do not compost at home, Halloween is a great time to start. If you live in a community where green yard waste is collected, place your pumpkins to the curb to be collected for composting. Green waste may also be delivered to the Authority’s Utica and Rome EcoDrops for composting.
“Waste reduction and recycling is the easiest way to help the environment and have a direct impact here in the Oneida-Herkimer region. With a little creativity and mindfulness, we can make the holiday season less wasteful. Reducing the amount of waste we create will conserve our region’s landfill space, natural resources and energy,” continued Tuttle.
For more information on how to “green” your Halloween, please visit the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s Facebook page – “Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority.” For solid waste and recycling questions or for more information on the Authority’s other programs, please visit www.ohswa.org or call (315) 733-1224.