Tuesday, 12 October 2010
08:21:36 AM (GMT)
OMG, it’s the beginning of a nightmare and scarier than “Halloween” 1-5,
“Children of the Corn,” and “Dr. Giggles,” it’s Bags of Candy. Halloween is
the kick-starter, the beginning of the over-indulgent mass consumerism of the next
three months to come.
Making this holiday green requires will power. That’s because bags of candy make
for bags of candy wrappers, awarding Halloween second place to Christmas in
post-consumer waste. But before we even get to the candy, there are plenty of other
things that will have you choking on your Snickers.
One thing is certain to get you to think about being green for Halloween, and
that’s the amount of money you will save if you don’t give in to the impulse
buys. Halloween spending is split up between candy, costumes, decorations and
greeting cards. It’s estimated that people spend $70 each during the Halloween
season. That’s right, you won’t even realize it because it leaks out of your
pockets with every visit to the supermarket, discount store and pharmacy. Those bags
of candy may be less than $3, but a Halloween card? Try $4 and more. You should have
a look at www.markeyiwu.com for the celebrate things.
Trick or treat bags decorated with all that lovely manufactured artwork come with a
price, too. The alternative? Try a pillowcase, or a reusable bag. In addition to the
cost of buying decorations, adding lights to your display will add to electricity
bills. Look for LED holiday lights to help cut the cost of electricity.
Decorations have other unmarked risks and add up to more spending. Take something as
simple as a candle; if you buy a paraffin wax candle, the toxic chemicals toluene and
benzene get released into the air. Soy candles don’t contain these chemicals and
actually burn longer. Try the farmers market when it comes to decorating for
biodegradable compostable decorations like pumpkins and squashes, wheat and straw,
leaves, sticks and branches. Remember making your own scarecrow?
Costumes often contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is carcinogenic and isn’t
recyclable. Options like swapping costumes, making them yourself, going to
second-hand stores or even renting a costume is better for you and the environment
and generally costs a lot less. Halloween make-up can cost as much as $20, and also
can have parabens and phthalates that are cancer-causing agents.
So now let’s get to the candy. How did we get to the point where candy wrappers are
an ecological horror show? But who wants to be the neighbor who hands out pencils to
trick-or-treaters? It’s bad enough to get fruit or nuts. It happens when the stores
bring out the candy bags to sell as early as July.
If you notice, candy is really cheap, like bags of it for less than $3 at some
places. It’s usually displayed close to checkout areas. If you are waiting in line
and you see that cheap price and you are even remotely hungry, you will probably buy
a bag. And that’s where the excess waste begins to accumulate.
More than just gaining weight, you are putting all those wrappers into the trash
Well, if you only got four trick-or-treaters last year, you probably won’t see much
more than eight this year. The question is, are you buying enough for eight or 80?
Most people don’t buy 20 Almond Joys every time they go food shopping, yet somehow
might find themselves picking up a bag of them during each visit to the grocery store
in October. Maybe you made it through July, August, even September, but it’s really
challenging not to eat the candy you purchase at the beginning of October and instead
save it for Oct. 31.
Being eco-friendly during the Halloween season is surely the path that requires most
resistance. As in, resistance to chocolate and nostalgia, like vanilla Tootsie rolls,
Charleston Chews and Bit o’ Honeys. If you don’t want to contribute to the
massive post-consumer waste that is Halloween, definitely wait until the last minute
before you buy your bag, and let the nightmare end. By the way, it’s not likely the
store is going to run out of any of it, including those tiny boxes of Milk Duds.