Canada’s Waste Reduction Week is the third week of October and focused on a circular economy. The weekdays engage people on key waste management issues and material streams: textiles, e-waste, plastics, and food waste. The weekend encourages you to extend the life of these products/materials through the sharing economy, swapping and/or repairing.
So how can we integrate these concepts when preparing for Halloween?
Regardless of how you celebrate, Halloween tends to generate a fair bit of tiny packaging (treats), single-use plastics (cheap decorations such as spider webs/cheap costumes) and loads of food waste (pumpkins)!
Conjure up a crafty Halloween by decorating your yard
No need to head to the dollar store for a garbage bag worth of light-up skulls, fake spider webs, and plastic pumpkins. Instead, choose epic, fantastical upcycled crafts you can make. My favourites are the ghost or monster milk jugs, toilet paper roll bats, mummy rocks and pumpkin lightbulbs.
Or, bring in decorations from nature, maybe drying leaves or picking twigs to make a Halloween wreath. And think about utilizing reusable LED tea lights in your pumpkin instead of candles and bring them out next year to reduce waste. Check out the endless ideas online and use what you have available in your home to decorate.
Clothes of Halloweens past
Opt for a costume that is unique! Why not get thrifty this Halloween and scour local second-hand stores for a spooktacular find? You could find a complete outfit that’s preloved or assemble parts of a costume from second-hand clothes. You could even arrange a costume swap if you’re looking for something specific or ask family and friends for any spare accessories they might have.
Going old-school with paper mâché and cardboard to make your costume yourself is always a great idea.
The night of…
Avoid plastic disposable bags and opt for cloth bags, like pillowcases, for holding treats. If you’re doing conventional trick or treating, sampling is inevitable, but urge your children to avoid littering, by taking along an extra bag for any garbage or recycling.
All those crinkly little wrappers that you find on rockets, little chocolate bars and potato chips can all be recycled in the other flexible plastic category for Recycle BC’s pilot waste to energy program. Although these are not accepted in curbside pickup, the 3rd Avenue depot will accept along with the recycling station at the AV Sort’nGo Centre (formerly the AV Landfill).
Smartie boxes can be recycled as cardboard (accepted in the curbside program). And how about that costume? Don’t throw it in the trash, think of donating it to a secondhand store or check if the theatre needs any costumes.
It’s great that we now have the option of throwing our leftover pumpkins in the organics bin (remove candle stubs and wax), but, if possible, turn it into a treat. Turn the flesh into a delicious pumpkin pie or cheesecake and roast the seeds for a light snack or bird feed
It’s also worth noting that with the number of black bears that have been seen around the community this past month, that reducing the number of available attractants is critical to minimize the number of human/wildlife interactions.
Halloween often comes with a lot of light-up toys and decorations. But come Nov. 1, they’re often discarded with other household waste, without removing the batteries. A large percentage of batteries are not recycled properly, and they end up leaking chemicals into our environment, so make sure you dispose of your batteries appropriately.
Stay in the Know with Sort’nGo!
Visit www.letsconnectacrd.ca/organics for more information about the Organics Collection Service and to ask questions. You can also check out the Facebook Page “Sort’nGo– ACRD Recycling & Organics” at facebook.com/ACRD.recycles that has weekly tips and updates for the Valley. If you’re a community group, local business, or schoolteacher you can contact the ACRD to arrange for an educational presentation.