Halloween can be a fun and scary time, but don’t forget there are lots of ways this time of year can be spooky and environmentally-friendly.
Trick-or-treat containers: There are lots of ways to containerize your Halloween
goodies. As an alternative to purchasing special Halloween buckets, use something you already have, like a backpack, reusable shopping bag, pillowcase. How about your summer beach sand pail or a pick-your-own berry bucket if you have one? For an even more creative approach, make your own bag out of an old t-shirt or tank top, either with a sewing machine: http://www.instructables.com/id/FASTEST-RECYCLED-T-SHIRT-TOTE-BAG/?ALLSTEPS or without: http://makeprojects.com/Project/No-Sew-T-Shirt-Bag/849/1. If you do purchase a bucket or container for your trick-or-treating, check for a recycling triangle (even if there isn’t one, you can bring it to the Recycling Center for the rigid plastics pile).
Speaking of treats: Don’t forget that most candy and treat wrappers are not
recyclable. Candy bar wrappers, plastic bags, and waxy, gooey paper wrappers belong in the trash once their sugary contents are consumed. Paper boxes (think Junior Mints, Nerds, Jujubes) can be recycled as long as they are free of gooey candy. Instead of candy or other edible snacks, consider dishing out pencils, bookmarks or stickers that are fun and useful.
Costume creativity: do-it-yourself costumes can be very eco-friendly by dressing up as your favorite movie star, commercial character or other famous person. You could take this approach easily by using items you may already have at home, things you might be able to borrow from friends or family, or items you find at a second hand store. Check out this link for some inspiring (if not interesting and slightly cheeky) ideas: http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/recycled-halloween-costume-470708. If you and your friends and family are involved in the theater, a costume swap may be in order. If you purchase pieces or your entire costume, think about what you’ll do after October 31; can your costume be donated to a second hand store, recreational or theater club, or any other group? Also consider the recyclability of your costume; paper masks without feathers, glitter, and similar embellishments may be recyclable, but vinyl or rubber masks, capes, or other items are not.
Hosting a Halloween party? Reduce waste by making it a zero-waste party; ask
your guests to bring their own cups, plates and utensils, or provide a reusable cup for each guest (which doubles as a party gift), and reuse decorations or make your own from recyclable materials. Don’t forget to place a recycling container next to each trash can around your house to make it easy for guests to recycle bottles, cans and rigid plastic cups.
If you’re spooked by recycling do’s and don’ts this Halloween, contact the Solid Waste Management Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-532-6001.