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EcoWaste Coalition: Make Halloween Plastic- and Toxics-Free

Make Halloween plastic- and toxics-free

Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-government organization (NGO) working for a zero waste and toxics-free society, appealed to organizers of trick-or-treat events to make Halloween a healthy and safe experience for children, as well as the environment.

Ahead of the celebrations marked with candies, costumes and parades, the group reminded organizers to put the health of children and the environment as a top priority.

“Halloween celebrations should not expose our children to harmful chemicals nor add to the volume and toxicity of garbage being produced by our society on a daily basis,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “We need not generate ‘hallowaste’ (a portmanteau of ‘Halloween’ and ‘waste’) as if plastics and other trash are not yet choking our ecosystems.”

As some of the celebrations will happen ahead of the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 30, the group likewise reminded candidates to refrain from politicizing Halloween for their electoral advantage.

“We also appeal to poll candidates to stay away from Halloween events and simply let the children enjoy and have fun,” Benosa added.

Assorted Halloween costumes, toys and accessories
Assorted Halloween costumes, toys and accessories that are often sold without product authorization and labeling information

To avoid the wastefulness that often tarnish festive events, the EcoWaste Coalition urged those organizing or taking part in Halloween celebrations to consider these plastic and toxic reduction tips:

  1. Avoid plastic costumes and masks. Create costumes from repurposed items to avoid buying pricey ready-to-wear attires and accessories, particularly those made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. With a little bit of creativity, parents and kids can turn old clothes and fabrics into something fun or spooky.
  2. Avoid face paints. Opt for natural substitutes to face paints, which often lack quality and safety assurance and may contain bacterial and chemical contaminants. Try food-grade alternatives commonly found in the kitchen such as food coloring, annatto seeds, turmeric, cocoa powder, cornstarch, etc.
  3. Avoid plastic buckets. Instead of plastic pumpkin buckets, encourage children to bring reusable cloth bags, old socks or their school lunch bags for Halloween treats.
  4. Avoid unauthorized and unlabeled plastic toys. Refrain from buying soft plastic toys, which may be laden with hormone-disrupting phthalates, as well as painted toys, which may be coated with leaded paints, unless these toys are authorized and labeled phthalate-free or lead-free.
  5. Avoid treats in disposable wrappers. Consider healthier alternatives to candies with little nutritional value and often wrapped in plastic that is hardly recycled. Treat kids with wholesome food such home-made cookies or sandwiches in paper napkins or small paper bags. Give kids bananas and other fruits in season.

“Organizers can also use the occasion to educate children on simple ways to show our concern for the environment such as by not throwing candy wrappers on the ground,” Benosa said.

EcoWaste Coalition
Let's make an eco-friendly, zero waste, and toxic-free Philippines a reality.