24 October 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Halloween Event Organizers to Avoid “Hallowaste”


A waste and pollution watch group today urged Halloween trick-or-treat organizers to aim for an eco-friendly event to minimize what the group calls as “hallowaste.”

The EcoWaste Coalition advised Sangguniang Kabataan (SKs) organizing neighborhood trick-or-treat parade to go for a zero waste celebration to cut down on trash as well as spending.

“Even if Halloween trick-or-treating is not typically a Filipino culture, we seem to have adapted it with toy stores, shopping malls and hotels cashing in on this popular US feast,” observed Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Halloween street events, often led by SKs in urban barangays, are becoming common with kids dressing up, showing off their costumes, and asking for candy treats,” he noted.

“With the barangay and SK elections scheduled in May 2018, it will not be surprising to see more fun activities such as Halloween parades and parties as those seeking elective posts try to make their names and faces known to their constituents,” he said.

“Unfortunately, Halloween celebrations can be wasteful in terms of money spent, materials used, and garbage produced,” he added.

To avoid the wastefulness that often blights popular celebrations, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with tips on how to prevent and reduce “hallowaste.”

Here are the group’s “hallowaste” prevention and reduction tips:

1.   Create costumes from repurposed items to avoid buying expensive ready-made Halloween attires and accessories.    With an ounce of creativity, parents and kids can turn old clothes and fabrics into something fun or spooky.  Another option is to borrow or swap costumes with a friend or relative, or to buy from a hand-me-down thrift store.

2.  Try natural substitutes to face paint, which may contain lead and other harmful substances.  These alternatives are commonly found in the kitchen such as food-grade coloring, achiote seeds, turmeric, cocoa powder, cornstarch, etc.

3.  Use reusable cloth bags or old socks for Halloween goodies in lieu of plastic pumpkin, skull or character buckets.

4.  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 them bananas and other fruits in season like lanzones and rambutan.

5.  Use the occasion to sensitize kids on caring for the environment such as by not throwing candy, cookie or sandwich wrappers and fruit peelings on the ground.  Start ‘em young on ecological waste management.

For a safer Halloween celebration, the EcoWaste Coalition advised the public to refrain from buying costumes, accessories and decors that are coated with paint unless certified as lead-safe.

The group further cautioned the public from buying Halloween toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, especially items that can be ingested, mouthed or sucked, that may contain toxic phthalates, which are added to such plastic to make it pliable and soft.

The public should refrain from purchasing toys that are improperly labeled and have not been issued the proper authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the form of acknowledged product notifications for toys and childcare articles (TCCAs).

According to the FDA, the use of TCCAs that have not gone through the agency’s verification process may pose potential health hazards to consumers.

“Potential hazards may come from materials that are not allowed to be part of a TCCA product or being exposed to chemicals that can leach out from the product such as phthalates and nitrosamines.”

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