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Don’t let Halloween waste come back to haunt you

The well-known phrase ‘trick or treat’ at Halloween doesn’t just mean children come home with arms full of sweets. It also means a lot of waste, especially wrappers and discarded costumes.

An estimated seven million Halloween costumes are binned in the UK each year. As this includes plastic masks and accessories, we’re talking about an estimated 2000 tonnes of plastic waste. On top of this, over 300 000 tonnes of textiles are sent to landfill every year. Sweet sales at Halloween are in the high millions and pose a significant recycling challenge.

Veolia has launched a dedicated Halloween recycling scheme – named Procycle – ‘to bring those wrappers and costumes back from the dead’. The seasonal scheme targets textiles as well as disposable plastics like bags, straws and wrappers an the company says people can have fun ‘without feeling sinful’.

Procycle covers seven products:

  • Plastic straws
  • Textiles and clothes
  • Sweet wrappers
  • Milk bottles and tops
  • Plastic toys
  • Plastic healthcare bottles
  • Recycled paper straws

Veolia’s chief technology & innovation officer Richard Kirkman notes that close to a billion chocolates and sweets are sold during Halloween in the UK. ‘We are focused on the sweet, not the sour, this 31 October,’ he says. ‘Halloween is a time to spook with your outfits, not to be haunted by pollution. We hope to encourage consumers to turn a scary situation into a sustainable one.’

How does it work?

Consumers and businesses receive a box – made from recycled content – in the preferred size (small, medium, large) and for a specific waste stream. When it’s full, the owner can arrange a date and time for a free collection and purchase a new box to start the journey again. ‘We recycle everything, including the box and the liner,’ Veolia says.

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