Halloween - the tricking, the treating and the all-round spookiness. It’s meant to be a scary good time, but unfortunately the dark side of Halloween is pretty terrifying.
It’s estimated that in the UK, £300 million is spent at Halloween each year.
39.9 million pumpkins will be bought this Halloween, but only less than half will be eaten.
42% of people don’t realise carving pumpkins are edible.
1 in 4 costumes will only be worn once, with 7 million costumes going in the bin each year
83% of costumes use non-recycled oil-based plastics, which makes them destined for landfill. This is the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles.
Just one trick-or-treater can generate half a kg of waste each year. - as most treats are individually wrapped in non-recyclable plastic.
Make Halloween scary for the right reasons
While this all seems very bleak, there is plenty we can do to be less of a waste-monster. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
While craving a pumpkin is a great bit of (messy) fun, don’t forget that they are actually food, and can be eaten and enjoyed. Every pumpkin eaten goes towards reducing the 6.6 million tonnes of edible waste created by UK homes each year.
The inner flesh and seeds are great to cook and bake with, with a wide range of possibilities. You could try making pumpkin soup, pie, bread, muffins or even a real pumpkin spice latte. You can also use it to make gnocchi, by swapping half of the potatoes for pumpkin. Try this delicious recipe from our Farm Operations Manager for Sage & Sorrel Gnocchi. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted to make a tasty snack, with a whole host of health benefits like improved heart health, blood sugar levels, fertility and sleep quality. Here is a great recipe for Roasted Marmite Pumpkin Seeds (you’ll either love it or hate it).
If cooking isn’t your thing, or your pumpkin goes past it’s best, there are other ways to dispose of them more sustainably. For starters, your pumpkin should never be put in the general household bin. Put it in the food waste collection, or better, a compost bin. If you don’t have one, ask a friend who does, or make yourself/invest in one! You can also leave the pumpkin and its seeds out for wildlife to feast on, as natural resources are always in shorter supply at this time of year. If you’re a fan of growing, you can even use your pumpkin as a plant pot which will feed your plant as it decomposes.
The best thing you can do to reduce the environmental impacts of costumes is to avoid buying them and instead, making them yourself. There are loads of creative and fun ways to make a costume so give it a go, and chances are it will look even better for that bit of extra effort put into it. They can be very simple too if you are short on time (hello old white sheet ghost). If you don’t have any time to make one, try reusing an old costume (no one will remember or care if you wore it last year!) or buying from a charity shop. Kids outgrown their costumes? Give them away or donate them, avoid the bin wherever possible.
The same goes for decorations. Make, reuse and recycle wherever possible. When buying, think long-term and check the source of the materials to see if they are recyclable or will stand the test of time.
Nothing is more of a treat than a homemade treat, so why buy? If you don’t have time to bake, go for options with the least/most sustainable packaging. Remember, it all adds up.
Enjoying the spooky festivities doesn’t need to be a scary shock for the planet, eating that pumpkin, buying one less costume and hanging out less plastic wrapped goods all contributes towards a more sustainable way of living.
Square Mile Farms bring vertical, urban farming to city dwellers. We aim to bring people closer to food production and help to create a culture of healthy, sustainable living. Find out more about our offering and get in touch here with any queries. You can also follow us on social media to stay up to date with our journey, find us on Instagram and LinkedIn.