Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween and Plastic

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $5.07 billion on Halloween related goods this year. Of that, around $1.55 billion will be spent on candy, likely purchased by the 72.9 percent of Americans over the age of 18 who plan to give out sweets to neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

Here's some math: If 72.9 percent of Americans over 18 give out candy, an estimated 96.6 million people will be handing out the sweet stuff this year. Now, if each of those people buys just 60 individually wrapped candies to give out to kids, which is probably a conservative estimate, Americans will be sending 5.79 billion plastic candy wrappers to landfills this Halloween. Now that's spooky.

Eco-friendly Alternatives
So what can we do? Here are a few eco-friendly trick-or-treat ideas for next year:
  • Give out bulk candy in brown baggies - with people concerned about the safety of halloween candy this might not work for many of us but could be a possibility for those that live in close-knit communities.
  • Hand out raisins - most people like raisins and although they still have a decent amount of packaging and come wrapped in plastic, they're a little better.
  • Pay them off with dimes or quarters - if you can spare the money, most trick-or-treaters would be pleased enough with dimes or quarters.
  • Give out pencils - And if you can find them made from recycled materials, that's even better.
  • Give small boxes of wax crayons to the little one - they will probably appreciate them more than the candy in the longer run.
  • Visit the thrift store - it might be fun to try and find things like used books or jewelry to give out. It might not make you the most popular house to visit, but that's okay.
  • Shop at your summer garage sales - maybe you can find a few good things to give out during leisurely visits to garage sales.
  • Don't give anything out to the teenagers - it might sound mean, but they're a bit old for this anyway and it would be hard to please them with anything but plastic-wrapped candy.
More Ideas
For more eco-friendly Halloween ideas visit or check out the blog posts by Former Fat Guy and Twisted Plot.

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