As you might’ve guessed, our annual affinity with dressing up for spooky season is nothing short of an environmental nightmare. Turns out the waste we generate with throwaway costumes is even more frightening than the get-ups themselves.
In 2019, Hubbub – a charity dedicated to inspiring ways of living that are good for the environment – disclosed a finding even more terrifying than the holiday we eagerly anticipate the moment October rolls around.
And no, I’m not referring to a resurgence of the great clown panic of 2016, but the fact that our annual affinity with dressing up for spooky season is contributing rather drastically indeed to the current climate crisis.
As it turns out, an estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste were generated that Halloween from throwaway costumes bought in the UK alone.
Working with Fairyland Trust, Hubbub’s investigation of these get-ups from 19 supermarkets and retailers (including ASOS, John Lewis, Amazon, and Tesco) discovered that almost all of the material used to make them was polluting oil-based plastic likely to end up in a landfill. Freddy Krueger who?
While this figure is thought to have declined last year during the pandemic-induced lockdowns that meant we couldn’t celebrate anywhere but within the confines of our own homes, activists are concerned that our newfound freedom to party may well signify another boom in costume purchases.
If the past is anything to go by (seven million themed outfits were discarded at the time of the survey and only a tiny proportion recycled), this would see us reverse a lot of the progress we’ve made in our fight to safeguard the future of our planet.
‘Unless brands and manufacturers take action to increase the use of non-plastic alternative fibres such as cotton, viscose, and lyocell, the huge carbon footprint of Halloween is likely to continue,’ stated the report.
‘Without regulatory action to limit plastic entering the supply chain a comprehensive solution is unlikely to be found.’