Trick or Treat Part 5: How to Handle Halloween Waste
While we hope to have generated as little waste as possible this Halloween, we also want to ensure that we are considering all the options when it comes to the life cycle of what we did use. Don’t just toss those handmade decorations after all the hard work you’ve put in!
Wherever possible, we want to extend their life cycle, so we can consume less as a society. And when it is time to discard, it's important to do your research. Every municipality handles waste differently based on cost and available resources. Here are some tips to make a positive impact this Halloween.
Upcycle Your Waste
You’ve heard the saying “one person’s trash is another person's treasure” right? Well this rings especially true where upcycling is involved. Instead of throwing away candy wrappers, why not turn them into something practical like a wallet, pencil case, or purse?
Or you could decorate items that you already have, such as a vase or phone case, to create something unique. Take the Halloween mummy lantern you made, and use it as a pen holder. What about all those sheets you ripped up to make a house haunted? Cut them into cleaning rags! Store your costumes in the closet for next Halloween’s costume swap. There are plenty of ways to repurpose what you already have, so take a moment to think before you throw something away.
Terracycle is an awesome company dedicated to repurposing trash of all types. From old office supplies and electronics to cigarette butts and food packaging, Terracycle has a variety of recycling programs, some of which are even free! So why not get together with your neighbours to purchase a “Zero-Waste” box in which to collect your candy wrappers and divert them from landfill. Plus, every shipment to Terracycle earns you points that you can convert to charitable donations!
Beach Clean Up
Whether it's Halloween or not, taking time out of your day to clean up the Earth is always a welcome act. Even if it's just for five minutes, every piece of trash properly disposed of is hopefully one less piece that will end up in our water sources. On October 27th, we joined Bare Market at Lake Tales: Waste to Water (see recap here!) as we cleaned up Cherry Beach, and learned about how waste comes to end up in our waters. Join a Beach Clean Up near you!
Know Before You Throw
‘This packet of gum is made of plastic, so I can recycle it...right?’ Wrong! It has taken me the better part of a year to figure out where my trash is really meant to go, and one of the most helpful tools I stumbled upon was the City of Toronto's Waste Wizard. It’s simple, you just search the item you want to dispose of, and it tells you where to put it. For example, type in “pumpkin” and it will tell you that your jack-o-lanterns can go into Yard Waste bags, or can be cut into quarters and placed in the green bin. Toronto has even released the TOwaste app, which has info about collection schedules, drop-off centres and more. How handy!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our 4-part Halloween waste series and learned some useful tips. When in doubt, remember that if you Refuse what you don't need, Reduce what you consume, and Reuse what you already have, you're making a positive difference.
Wishing you all a very Happy Hallow-Green!
About the Author: Lindura is a model with a passion for nature, travel, and healthy living. She loves discovering new ways to live waste-free, and was thrilled when her sister introduced her to the Bare Market. She is excited to share her package free journey, and connect with the community as Bare Market blogger. You can follow her and her sister on Instagram @plasticfreeto.