The scariest thing about Halloween is the waste!

The amount of plastic and pumpkin waste set to be produced this year is forming a very dark cloud over the Halloween festivities.

Environmental groups are warning people not to buy Halloween costumes this year and instead, make their own. This is due to the amount of plastic wasted produced every year.

There is also an alarming amount of pumpkin waste set to be recorded as around 10 million are grown each year, 95% of which end up carved into ghoulish faces. Of these 10 million, more than 8 million, the equivalent of 18,000 tonnes of edible flesh, will be discarded.

An estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste is also projected this year, the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles, as most Halloween costumes are made from Polyester, an oil-based plastic.

An investigation launched by HubBub, an environmental group that create fun and playful new ways to reduce waste and help save money, looked further into Halloween than most people to give advice on how we can enjoy the time of year, as well as help save the environment.

As a result, they have encouraged people to stay clear of buying new costumes and instead either make their own, or re-use ones from previous years, sparking a debate amongst shop owners and retailers. As for pumpkin waste, they have encouraged to keep leftover flesh to cook with in meals such as soup and pumpkin pie.

On the Hubbub website, there is a guide to eating, storingand disposing of pumpkins in a bid to reduce the amount of waste this year, with the majority of households throwing out the finished product, whereas there is a lot to be done with the leftovers.

I spoke to local costume shop worker, Zak Riding, from ‘Aha Ha Ha’ in the Grassmarket, about how the plea to boycott Halloween costumes will effect local Edinburgh shops and whether it will solve the waste problem:

“Anything that goes in the news generally effects small businesses over big ones. We’re usually the hardest hit as it’s easier to combat the smaller problems, over the bigger ones.”

“We tend to attract people who have a high income, as opposed to families with four kids, so it doesn’t affect these people as much – it hits the poorest the hardest.”

Most small local businesses rely on this time of year to make a profit as Zak says “Halloween is the thing that keeps us going.”

When asked about the materials used to make their costumes, Zak admitted most are made from Polyester as there’s no getting around the problem, “our costumes are 95% polyester, but most of the time people buy one a year, the same as parents buying kids a new school uniform every year which is also made from polyester.”

“Once the bigger problems such as renewable energy and reusable cups are solved then maybe replacing the polyester in our costumes with cotton can be looked at – I don’t think boycotting Halloween costumes is the way forward.”

Zak also said that none of the left-over costumes in his shop are thrown away, “We keep everything for next year and recycle what we can, such as the plastic and cardboard packaging.”

This begs the question; what will you be doing with your leftover costume and pumpkin waste this year? check out our article from last week with exciting pumpkin recipes!

Here are some ideas for what to do with your pumpkin waste:

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