Halloween is a big business. In the UK between 2001 and 2010, retailers reported an astronomical rise in Halloween-related spending, from £12m to £280m. This year, that figure is expected to reach £315-325 million, according to analysts at Planet Retail.
In the US, spending reached a record-breaking $8 billion in 2012, although that figure is expected to decrease to $6.9 billion in 2013, as some consumers try to cut costs.
But of course, as with any spending decision there is more to consider than just your purse or wallet (like being safe). As one of the biggest consumer events on the calendar, the environmental impact of Halloween is significant. With that in mind, we have compiled some scarily useful tips to make your All Hallows Eve cheaper and more sustainable.
1. Make your own costumes and decorations
Costumes are one of the biggest Halloween expenses, but this spending can easily be avoided by recycling old clothes, household objects or charity shop finds. Get the kids involved, too, making Halloween all the more enjoyable.
For an added sustainability edge, why not give your fancy dress an environmental theme this year? 2nd Green Revolution has posted some of its favourite suggestions on its website, from dressing up as a homeless polar bear, a drought (by drinking all your friends drinks and eating all their sweets) or a glacier from the year 2050 (by carrying around a glass of water).
Surely we should be more scared of impending climate apocalypse than a bed sheet with eyeholes cut in?
2. Hand out eco-friendly treats
Another way to make Halloween less scary for the environment is to stock up on more eco-friendly supplies for when the trick or treaters come knocking.
The campaign group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has warned that goodies you dish out tonight could be contributing to the destruction of rainforests in south-east Asia and devastating the habitat of endangered orangutans.
There are obvious benefits to handing out healthier snacks, but avoiding sweets altogether might not make you the most popular household in your area. Alternatively, you can shop around for organic sweets or chocolates. Try to avoid plastic packaging, as plastic waste can be one of the most damaging pollutants.
3. Use reusable bags
Another great way of cutting down on plastic waste is using a reusable cloth or canvas shopping bag to carry that hefty trick or treating haul.
According to figures from Wrap, a government body that promotes recycling, Britons used 8.1 billion plastic carrier bags in 2012, with the average shopper using around 10 a month.
For the good of our planet, that figure needs to come down. Plastic waste can be particularly devastating to marine life, threatening endangered animals such as turtles. A true horror story, if there ever was one.
4. Spooktacularly energy saving lighting
Candles are, of course, a Halloween essential. However, try to avoid paraffin candles, as these are petroleum based and can generate indoor air pollutants.
Complement them with LED lighting, which cost around 80% less to use than incandescents.
5. Green pumpkins
According to statistics collected from supermarket chains, 18,952 tonnes of pumpkins were sold in the UK and US during Halloween season last year. That’s enough to make 41m pumpkin pies. However, the problem is that generally, they aren’t used to make pumpkin pies.
Many households carve up more than one pumpkin on Halloween and then throw them away the day after. They then end up decomposing on landfills, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
To go green, make use of the pumpkins to cook up a tasty post-Halloween treat. Buy only one organic pumpkin to limit waste, or even better; grow your own (although this tip may be a little late for this year).
Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green
A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:
- They arranged a carpool with their friends.
- They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
- They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
- My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.
My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.
Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm
People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.
How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:
- The Center for Disease Control reports that about two million marriages are formed every year.
- Approximately 70% of all marriages have green elements today.
- This means that 1.4 million marriages are green.
There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.
People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before
Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.
One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:
“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”
Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative
Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.
Cost and Simplicity
A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.
Green Weddings Are the Future
Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.
Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?
Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.
Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.
Fulfilling a Genuine Need
Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.
Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.
After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.
Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.
Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.
Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.
A Fundamental Foresight
Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.
However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.
They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.
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