The scariest thing about Halloween may be the plastic waste it creates. An estimated 83% of costumes’ material are made from oil-based plastics. A new study with Fairyland Trust and Hubbub investigated clothing lines for Halloween.

Polyester, a know plastic polymer, was found in 69% of all materials. In the United Kingdom, costumes are estimated to make up 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste in 2019. Enough plastic to make 83 million bottles will be part of these costumes, according to the study. Retailers include Amazon, Tesco, John Lewis, Boden, Asos, Aldi and Marks & Spencer.

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Plastic abounds at Halloween. The above research just includes the costume fabrics. Consumers also use synthetic wigs, hats, plastic buckets, makeup and party decorations. Plus, all the individually wrapped candy. An estimated 30 million people around the UK dress up for Halloween. Combine that with all countries celebrating and that’s a lot of waste.

Chris Rose, a spokesperson for Fairyland Trust said of the costumes, “The scariest thing about Halloween now is plastic. More costumes are being bought each year as the number of people participating in Halloween increases. Consumers can take action to avoid buying new plastic and still dress up for Halloween by buying from charity shops or re-using costumes, or making their own from non-plastic materials.”

The charities that sponsored the study have ideas for reducing plastic this holiday. Consumers can help reduce plastic waste by buying used costumes, making costumes with existing clothing and checking labels of costumes they do purchase. Instead of throwing away costumes, donate or save for next year.

Plastic waste is a mounting problem, in the UK and other countries. This week, in the Queen’s speech to Parliament, her Majesty mentioned the importance of protecting the environment. Companies and governments are working together to reduce harmful plastic waste. When plastic breaks down in the landfill, it ends up as microplastics which are harmful to animals that ingest them.

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To have an eco-friendly Halloween, check out Halloween Done Sustainably: How to Cut Down on Packaging, Waste, and Woe and How to Make Spooky Stuff from Your Garbage (And Other Eco-Decorations).

You can also be green by eating for the planet. Check out some of our plant-based halloween recipes in 15 Ghoulishly Gorgeous Vegan Halloween Recipes! and 15 of Your Favorite Famous Halloween Treats, Made Vegan!

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