Molly’s back with some tips on how to stay trash-free during your Halloween weekend festivities. Staying zero waste while having a blast is easier than you think! – Lauren
If you’re reading this
it’s too late chances are you’re over the age of 13 and will most likely not be Trick or Treating this Halloween, and your treat of choice will be in liquid form. If you’re headed to a party this weekend, here are a few tips to stay trash-free while getting trashed.
If you plan to indulge in some libations during your Halloweekend, the best way to ensure that you won’t be stuck sipping out of a plastic solo cup is to come prepared with your own beverages.
Beer, wine and mixers in aluminum cans are the way to go – they’re the most recyclable. Get the kind in a paper box NOT the six packs with plastic rings. Or hey, bring your own flask or mason jar filled with your beverage of choice. Pro tip: once your drink is gone and flowing through your bloodstream, you can refill your container with water to hydrate – that is unless you enjoy waking up with a crippling hangover.
Drink from cans, bring your own cup or ask for a real cup
If drinks will be provided for you wherever you’re heading, stick to drinks in aluminum cans at the party. Or if it’s a drink mixing station, don’t be afraid to ask the party host for a real cup or mug to drink out of. This is a great opportunity to spread the zero waste word if they question your request. Here’s a great response:
“I’m challenging myself to not make any trash this Halloween! I’ll even wash my own cup out before I leave – I really appreciate it.”
The cup washing add-on will definitely score you the goods, trust me.
Or better yet, bring your own stainless steel cup along or an empty mason jar.
Seek out the recycling
Parties can be a breeding grounds for trash, amongst other regrettable mistakes, so make sure to ask the host where the recycling bin or bag is at the party. When you leave, offer to take it out for them to make sure it doesn’t accidentally get thrown in the trash the next day.
If they haven’t started one yet, be the proactive zero waste-r that you are and start one!
Bring your own bag for recycling
If they don’t have recycling at their building or home, collect your recyclables and bring them out of the party with you and either recycle in a bin on your way home or bring them back with you. If you want to be a true zero waste hero, collect others’ recyclables also! Bring along a reusable bag with you to make this a breeze.
If you’re headed to a bar
Stick to draft beers, wine and mixed drinks minus the straw that are all served in glasses. If the bar you’re at doesn’t serve drinks in glass after a certain hour (we know things can get sloppy), kindly ask the bartender if they can still serve yours in a glass. If they can’t, opt for something in an aluminum can or glass bottle. If they don’t have either, skip the drink!
When you put it into perspective, skipping one drink at a bar isn’t a big deal when you compare it to climate change, overflowing landfills, litter all over our sidewalks, plastic on our beaches – you get the point.
Avoid candy in plastic wrappers
There are pretty much two truths to every Halloween party – “The Monster Mash” will be played a minimum of 14 times and there will be bowls on bowls on bowls of “fun size” Halloween candy.
Individually plastic-wrapped miniature pieces of candy might make your skin crawl, but just do your best to not eat any yourself. Remember, a part of accepting and adopting this lifestyle is knowing that you can’t control every person or situation, you can only control yourself.
So don’t let those shiny little wrappers detract from your fun, just don’t partake in the sugar binging – no matter how delicious that Twix bar might look.
But if you still want to indulge in some candy…
There are some candy options packaged in cardboard or paper rather than plastic so opt for those for Trick or Treaters or serving at your party. Kindly ask guests to recycle the packaging and provide them with a bin or bowl to do so in.
Or head to a grocery or candy store and stock up on bulk candy to serve in bowls. When shopping, bring along some reusable cotton drawstring bags, mason jars or some paper bags to fill up to avoid using plastic.
Keep your drunk snacks package free
Avoiding all that candy and collecting all those empty cans (oh, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol, too) can work up an appetite. When we’re tipsy, tired and hungry, our guard is often down. Be careful not to get trapped in a I-don’t-care-about-zero-waste-I’m-drunk-and-hungry mindset. Here are a few hacks.
- Indulge in a dollar slice but skip the paper plate and napkin.
- Grab a piece of fruit from the bodega.
- Opt for a sandwich that’s wrapped in paper.
- Or if it’s an option and you’re at a late-night diner or restaurant, get your evening snacks “for here”, skip the straw and avoid napkins if possible. If you do get a sloppy (it happens) and need to use a napkin, bring it home with you to compost.
Though I can’t guarantee you a Halloween free of creepy clowns, I can guarantee you that a zero waste Halloween is totally possible with a little planning and creativity.