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Trashy Trick-or-Treat: Advice for an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Green may be the best Halloween color of all for O'Fallon ghosts and goblins.

What could be scarier than a neighborhood full of Halloween trash? Each year, Halloween festivities yield tons of leftover bags, wrappers, costumes and just plain junk.

And that's just the beginning of a very trashy season. This statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency is downright scary:

The volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day: about 1 million extra tons.

“The best 'green' tips we can offer our customers during the holidays are not only ways to be eco-friendly while celebrating the season, but to also encourage tips for an eco-friendly lifestyle throughout the year,” said Carrie Spencer of Waste Management in Missouri.

Green Halloween tips

  • Give eco-friendly treats. Local groceries, specialty shops and health food stores offer candies produced using methods that do not damage the environment.
  • Use recyclable bags for your trick-or-treaters. A fun family activity is to create a unique trick-or-treat basket or simply put a reusable bag to good use. 
  • Avoid plastic jack-o'-lanterns. This will reduce clutter, save money and add a dash of originality to your trick-or-treaters’ costumes.
  • Skip the expensive plastic costumes. Put less stress on your wallet by opting for costumes made of reusable or recycled materials. Spark your family’s creativity by constructing a unique, exciting costume from scratch.
  • Walk instead of drive. Stay close to home and trick-or-treat in your neighborhood. By walking from house to house, you will reduce fuel consumption and air pollution.
  • Throw a green Halloween party. Purchase organic pumpkins for carving and apples for bobbing from local organic farms. Once the jack-o'-lanterns are carved and the bobbing is complete, use the apples and pumpkins for pies, soups and other tasty dishes.
  • Reuse and recycle. Now is a great time to start composting. Halloween jack-o'-lanterns, fallen leaves, food scraps and other organic, biodegradable yard and household waste are perfect items to get your compost bin started.

Waste Management's Spencer said the eco-friendly spirit can last beyond Halloween.

"You can also be 'green' every time you bag groceries at the store. It is the little steps we take that will help us create a new generation that sees conservation and recycling as a routine part of life.”


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