As we welcome fall, we also welcome the opportunity to reduce our trash consumption and dependence on fossil fuels. In one of my favorite books, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, she states “The average food item on a U.S. grocery shelf has traveled farther than most families go on their annual vacation…an average of 1,500 miles.” While this statistic is staggering, it doesn’t address another large issue: Textile waste. The EPA estimates 5% of our landfill space is taken up by textiles-that is, fabrics and clothing items. This fall is the perfect time to check your trash consumption, and what more perfect time than Halloween?
To reduce your consumption of trash and use of fossil fuels (directly or indirectly), we’ve compiled a few tips:
- Buy Halloween costumes secondhand. The Cedar Rapids metro area has dozens of quality consignment shops that sell quality, gently used costumes. Borrowing or trading costumes with another family is a great alternative to shopping!
- Make trick-or-treating wrapper free by offering bananas, clementines, or oranges. Those fruits are still a sweet treat and come in their own compostable wrapping.
- Instead of purchasing a plastic pumpkin bucket or plastic bag, help your child decorate a paper shopping bag. Extra bonus: Compost that paper bag by placing it in your Yardy when the night is over.
- For Teal Pumpkin Project families, consider passing out eco-friendly allergen safe “treats” like pencils without a plastic wrap decoration. Mechanical pencils are terrible for our environment (they’re rarely refilled, so the plastic shell is tossed), but traditional pencils that require sharpening are a great alternative! Plus, no allergens! Other non-food “treats” that are eco-friendly are: erasers, packets of flower seeds, and bamboo toothbrushes.
- Recycle as much of the candy wrapping as possible. For example, your peanut butter cups have a cardboard tray that can be recycled, as well as the box that raisins come in. Any candy that isn’t eaten (is this possible?!) can be unwrapped and tossed in your Yardy for composting.