Halloween is here and with it comes lots of candy, costumes, and decorations. Guess what else comes with all of those festive finds? Plastic and waste! Our sea turtle friends in the ocean may not celebrate Halloween, but they certainly feel the effects of it if our trash and waste makes its way into our waterways and ocean.
Sea turtles can easily confuse light-weight, brightly-colored candy wrappers for a tasty tropical fish. Plastics in any form are harmful to sea turtles, other ocean animals and their habitat. This Halloween, let’s turn this scary situation into a green Halloween with these five easy tips.
1. Skip the Scary Plastic: Store-bought costumes are scary for several reasons. Mass-produced ready-to-wear costumes from the supermarket are often made with non-recyclable chemicals and synthetic fibers that are not biodegradable. Upcycle a costume instead! Use old or donated clothing to make your costume. Make it a family project and create memories and something original, without all the plastic and paper waste.
2. Reuse a Trick or Treat Tote: Don’t buy a new plastic jack-o-lantern just to use one night. Lug your treats with a reinvented pillow case. They always hold more candy anyway! Already have an orange jack-o-lantern bucket? Use it again this year, then again next year (and the next)!
3. Buy in Bulk: Look for candy with less packaging. This cuts down on waste and gives you more for your money. Think little mini boxes versus large individually, plastic-wrapped treats. Look for brands that use recycled or recyclable packaging.
4. Recycle the Wrapper: Approximately 598 million pounds of candy are consumed every year around Halloween, according to a report issued by Nielsen several years ago. That’s a lot of candy and a lot of trash. What to do with all the “trash” after you’ve indulged in your sweet tooth? Recycle as much of it as you can! You can bring your candy wrappers to the Aquarium and we send them to TerraCycle to be repurposed into items like purses and bags.
5. DIY Décor: Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday after Christmas, according to the National Retail Federation. Why spend money on non-recyclable products, with excess packaging? Keep it simple. Upcycle everyday household items to give them a spooky makeover. Use old sheets and some leaves or newspaper to make ghosts. Go natural with corn husks, gourds and pine cones, all of which are 100 percent compostable.
For more information on plastic in our environment, visit our Plastic Oceans blog. Another great source about plastics in general is ReuseThisBag.com which was recommended to us by a reader. Halloween isn’t stopping our hatchlings from growing! This week Turtle A is 228 grams and 10.8 cm and Turtle B is 186 grams and 9.8 cm. For more information on what to do with those numbers, please check out our lesson: Hatchling to Yearling. For more spooky sea turtle fun, check out last year’s Halloween post on the ghost crab!