UK retailers to generate 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste from Halloween costumes

18th October 2019 | Recycling

Halloween costumes sold by UK retailers are set to generate more than 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste, equivalent by weight to 83 million bottles, according to new research from environmental charity Hubbub. Research from Hubbub and the family nature charity Fairyland Trust found that Halloween costumers sold by 19 retailers, including Argos, Tesco and Sainsbury’s will generate more than 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste.

The charities found that 324 Halloween clothing items from 19 retailers consisted of 83% oil-based plastic. Research by Hubbub estimated that 33 million people dressed up for Halloween in 2017, but 40% of costumes were worn just once. The retailers surveyed were Aldi, Argos, Amazon, Boden, Ebay, H&M, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Matalan, Next PrettyLittleThing, Sainsburys, Tesco, TK Maxx, Topshop, Wilko and Zara.


According to the charities, the plastic waste generated it equivalent by weight to 83 million Coca-Cola bottles, more than one per person in the UK. Hubbub’s chief executive Trewin Restorick said, “These findings are horrifying. The amoung of plastic waste from Halloween costumes is similar to the weight of plastic waste generated at Easter in egg-wrappings.

“However the total plastic waste footprint of Halloween will be even higher once you take into account other Halloween plastic such as party kits and decorations, much of which are also plastic, or Halloween food packaging, most of which quickly becomes ‘rubbish’ and ultimately, breaks down to be plastic pollution. Retailers must take greater responsibility to offer ranges for seasonal celebrations that don’t worsen the already worrying impact of plastic waste on our planet.”

The survey found that polyester was the most common plastic polymer, accounting for 69% of all materials. Hubbub is working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by Anne Main MP, looking into the environmental sustainability of the fashion industry.

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