Monday, October 31, 2016

The Horrors of Halloween Waste

While Halloween may be a retailers dream, from an environmental perspective it is a nightmare. On this day consumers generate a mountain of waste including tons of non-biodegradable candy wrappers and plastic items like decorations and costumes. Halloween appears to be growing in popularity and it is expected that Americans will increase their spending in 2016. 

During the period between October and December, retailers make up as much as 30 percent of their yearly sales numbers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF). As reported by Fortune, Americans are expected to spend a record 8.4 billion on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards this year.  The two worst Halloween buys for the environment are decorations and costumes. Both are commonly made of plastic that end up in landfills and do not break down. Plastics also contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates toxins including bisphenolic compounds like BPA.

Surpassed only by Christmas, Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year. Americans are expected to $2 billion on decorations, and $390 million on greeting cards, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Consumers spent $2.44 billion on costumes in 2014 and in 2016 the amount spent on costumes is expected to be $3.1 billion.

Each year the Halloween spend has been increasing. The 2014 spend breaks down to an average of $77.52 per person representing a 63 percent increase over 2005. The average spend was $74.34 in 2015 and it is expected to reach a record breaking $82.93 this year. The average spend on costumes is expected to be $27.85, and candy is expected to average $22.37 per person.

Halloween candy has gone from $1.16 billion in 2005 to $2.5 billion in 2016. Chocolate is the favorite Halloween candy, with more than 90 million pounds being sold, followed by candy corn, more than 35 million pounds are produced each year.

Related
Six Simple Steps for a Greener Halloween

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