From decorations to treats to costumes, Halloween comes with a lot of “stuff,” which makes it a scary time for recycling facilities. Many of the items kids accumulate at parties or what we use as decor isn’t recyclable, yet it still ends up in the recycling container. It can be a real nightmare, so Carolina Fibre is here with some Halloween recycling tips to help save you from becoming a recycling horror story.
Making your own costume from recycled finds is definitely the most environmentally-friendly way to go, and there are tons of recycled costume ideas out there. Keep in mind that once the holiday is over, fabric costumes and latex masks can be reused, but not recycled. You can always save the costume and repurpose it, or use as a dress-up costume that the kids can play with year-round. If your costume is in good shape after Halloween, you can also donate it. If your costume got stained or is in tatters after the holiday, reuse it next year as the zombie version of whatever it was this year. When it comes to makeup, you might think you’re out of luck, but you can actually recycle a lot of makeup containers. Check what number plastic they’re made from and if your city’s recycling program accepts it, clean out the container, and recycle away!
Bad news – those hundreds of candy wrappers your family will collect this holiday aren’t recyclable. Candy wrappers may feel like plastic, but they’re considered a mixed material, which makes for a nightmare at the recycling center. Some treats do come in recyclable containers, like those made from paperboard. So if you get stuck with a random box of raisins in your loot, you can toss the box in your recycling container.
Halloween decorations, like plastic bunting, paper spiders, and centerpieces are often recyclable. But plastic is a little bit trickier, so your best bet is to check the packaging. Since these decorations can use so many combinations of materials, it’s hard to definitively say what is and isn’t recyclable. Like with makeup containers, you just need to find out what number plastic they are and see if your city recycling service accepts it. Lighting is a completely different ghost story. Strings of lights will haunt your local recycling facility by getting tangled in the sorting equipment, so don’t put these items in your bin. However, there are mail-in recycling programs available.
Once the holiday is over, the easiest Halloween decorations to recycle is your pumpkins. As long as you didn’t paint on them, you can toss these into the compost pile when Halloween is over. Or, look into donating your uncarved pumpkins to a local farm – pigs love pumpkins! If they haven’t started to mold, you can even cook with them.
Though people have the best intentions, they aren’t always recycling the right items. In fact, studies show that more than a quarter of the material collected in bins was not recyclable. But by following a few simple guidelines, we can all be better recyclers no matter the season. Know what to throw away and what to recycle. Make sure items are empty, clean and dry, and keep recyclables loose – never in bags or containers. Are there any Halloween recycling tips we missed? If so let us know on our Facebook page. And if you have any questions about recycling, contact us today!