Tips offered for a ‘green’ Halloween

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UTICA — Halloween is almost here, and there are a lot of simple ways to make the holiday “greener” than ever, according to the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority.

The National Retail Federation expects consumer spending on Halloween related items to reach an all time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020.

Most Americans’ Halloween budgets go toward candy, home/yard
decorations and costumes — adding up to a lot of extra waste from packaging, wrappers and related materials, experts say.

In addition to the waste from
costumes and decorations, on average, an extra pound of garbage per trick or treater is generated each Halloween, resulting in hundreds of tons of
waste in Oneida and Herkimer Counties alone.

“If each of us made a few small changes to the way we celebrate the upcoming holiday, we would see a major environmental impact. The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority offers the following money saving and environmentally friendly tips to help “green” your Halloween,” stated Samantha Brown, Authority Recycling Coordinator, who issued the following recommendations:

Get creative with decorations

Use natural Halloween decorations like gourds, pumpkins, mums and corn stalks – all of these can be composted when you are through with them. Turn recycled paper into window decorations like spiders, pumpkins or witch hats.

Paint grocery bags Halloween white for ghostly effects or make a graveyard scene with paper tombstones. If you are purchasing new decorations, try to find items that can be saved and re-used year after year.

Make your costume

Halloween would not be the same without a costume. Skip the racks of expensive, plastic costumes and come up with creative ideas for a home-made costume – you might even win the Authority’s virtual costume contest.

If you can’t make your own, check out secondhand stores or host a costume-swap with friends. View the rules and prizes for the “Go Green for Halloween” Costume Contest at www.ohswa.org.

Collect treats in reusable bags

Instead of spending money on plastic pumpkins or plastic Halloween bags, use old pillowcases or reusable shopping bags for trick-or-treating. You can even make them festive by decorating them to match your costume, the authority said, adding it is providing free reusable bags for children at its EcoDrops in Rome and Utica through Oct. 30 during regular business hours. The Rome EcoDrop is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Stay local and walk

Stick close to home this Halloween and walk to help reduce air pollution and fuel use. It’s also a great way to connect with neighbors and get some exercise!

Compost your pumpkins

You can add pumpkins, gourds, mums and corn stalks to your compost pile. If you do not compost at home, Halloween is a great time to start. If you live in a community where green yard waste is collected, place your pumpkins to the curb to be collected for composting. Green waste may also be delivered to the Authority’s Utica and Rome EcoDrops for composting.

“Waste reduction and recycling is the easiest way to help the environment and have a direct impact here in the Oneida-Herkimer region. With a little creativity and mindfulness, we can make the holiday season less wasteful. Reducing the amount of waste we create will conserve our region’s landfill space, natural resources and energy,” continued Brown.

For information on how to “green” your Halloween, visit the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s Facebook page. For solid waste and recycling questions or for information on the Authority’s other programs, go online to www.ohswa.org or call 315-733-1224.

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