United Kingdom – Halloween is the season of nasty surprises, and there’s none bigger than the thousands of tonnes of material consigned to landfill as a result of this festival, according to commercial waste and recycling company BusinessWaste.
The days following October 31 are a nightmare, it says, for the UK’s waste industry as it struggles to cope with mounds of plastic and non-recyclables that have to be dumped. Last year, 15 million pumpkins were carved in the UK – none of which were eaten, while an estimated 12 500 tonnes of Halloween costumes were sent to landfill.
‘Halloween gets bigger and bigger every year,’ says BusinessWaste spokesman Mark Hall, ‘and that means an ever-larger clean-up operation.’ The problem, says the company, is that most Halloween-themed merchandise is ‘single use’ and is thrown away almost immediately, generating ‘so much rubbish that gets used for a couple of hours at most’.
‘Mass-produced plastic, sold for a pound, and with cheap, leaking batteries. We can deal with the batteries if people bother to separate them into recyclable waste, but 99% of the time they don’t,’ Hall remarks.
In particular, Halloween costumes are made of such cheap materials that ‘there’s no way that they can be recycled’, according to Hall. ‘They either go to be burned or just get buried in landfill. What a waste of money and resources.’