Four ways to have a green Halloween 

It’s spooky season! As if anyone can avoid it. Pumpkin spice is everywhere, and the supermarket aisles are groaning with spiderwebs and sweets.  

It’s not necessarily good news for the planet though. Halloween sadly means a serious amount of single use plastic is coming for our oceans.  

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

We’ve got four quick ideas for minimising waste this Halloween, and having a brilliant time while you do it.  

Second hand costumes  

OK, we were going to suggest homemade costumes here, and if that’s your thing, we’re so onboard with you. BUT we know that not everyone has the time, creativity or mental capacity to be thinking about cutting out patterns and sewing on sequins. And we’re not here to tell parents that instead of buying a readymade witch outfit while doing the weekly food shop, they should be getting the sewing machine out and labouring for hours over a homemade version.  

So hit up eBay, Facebook Marketplace, charity shops, ask a friend with a child who’s bigger than yours if they’ve got a spare. Beg, borrow and buy second hand, and you’ll be amazed at what you can find. Chances are it’ll be lighter on the pocket too. You can even stick it back up for sale or donate to a charity shop when you’re done so that someone else can wear it next year. Winner.  

Save the pumpkin! 

Going to be carving a pumpkin this year? Don’t bin the flesh! There are SO many good ways to use it up.  

Roast it in a sheet tin with some black beans, cumin and garlic and stuff into tacos with some cheese, blitz it up into puree for pumpkin pie. Or take a look at 2 Minute founder Martin Dorey whipping up pumpkin soup in his campervan!  

Big pumpkins can be a little watery, so if you’re carving a whopper, maybe pick a recipe that involves a bit of roasting. Roasting will dry out some of the wateriness and the flavour will be more intense. Most pumpkin dishes freeze really well too. Winner.  

So get searching for pumpkin dishes and serve up a Halloween feast with all that lovely pumpkin flesh.  

Give a modern nod to ancient traditions 

Forget Halloween altogether! And revisit the ancient Samhain traditions that preceded it.  

Samhain was one of the most important dates on the ancient Gaelic calendar, and it marked the end of the harvest season and the darkening of the days.  

The veil between the human and spirit worlds was thought to be at its thinnest, and doorways between the two were thought to open, letting in fairies and spirits.  

The original traditions of bonfires, feasts and rituals might be a little tricky in our modern lives. But why not share a meal with friends, light some candles and use natural decorations to mark the moment? We like the idea of using leaves, branches and candles for decoration, and cooking up some seasonal treats to celebrate the end of the harvest in a tasty way.  

Hit up your local Refill Shop – or make your own treats 

One of the biggest culprits for plastic at Halloween has got to be the endless bags of sweets, some with little bags inside big bags, others with individually wrapped sweets, don’t get us started! The plastic packaging is endless.  

If you’re expected little hands knocking on your door, maybe pop down to your local Refill Shop (if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby), and fill up on sweet treats without the plastic.  

And if you’re really feeling dedicated, you could always make your own sweets. We like The BBC Good Food Guide’s Halloween recipe section. Choose from creepy cookies, eerie eyeballs and candy apples. So much fun and tastiness! 

Happy Halloween!  

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Electric cars: electric dream or green screen? 

As the UK fuel crisis inspires more than ever to think about going electric, are they really the answer for our planet?  

Ok. Busted.  

Hands up if you too have been caught with your proverbial pants down by the Great Fuel Crisis of 2021.  

Yes, we’re all trying to use our cars less, and walk/cycle/ride unicorns* to work more. But honestly, most of us still need our car to do the school run and get to work. Not to mention those critical hospital appointments and caring commitments. Especially if you live in Cornwall (other rural areas are available), where public transport is…well let’s call it fashionably minimalist.  

Whether it’s the fault of the government, the media, the panic buyers or the fuel industry, the fact is that if you drive a car and it takes petrol or diesel, you’re probably checking your fuel tank anxiously. Or wondering how hard it actually would be to siphon some out of Terry next door’s Mondeo in the middle of the night. (We’re absolutely not condoning this.) 

And if your car is electric, well, you’re probably feeling just a tiny bit smug.  

So, is it time for us to finally start thinking properly about electric cars? Or are all cars inherently so bad for the environment that we should all be getting on our bikes instead and giving up journeys that we’re not willing to walk?  

Consider this your official 2 Minute lowdown on the pros and cons of electric vehicles.  

Are electric cars better for the environment? 

Yes. Definitely. If you’re comparing them to diesel and petrol cars they absolutely are. We really need to be moving away from fossil fuels. And they don’t generate harmful CO2 emissions. They’re also quieter than diesel and petrol vehicles (as anyone who’s been surprised/crept up on by a stealthy electric Uber will know), so noise pollution-wise, it’s a yes.  

They sound brilliant! Let’s make more of them! 

Well hold your horses, they’re not perfect. They may not make emissions on the road, but the production process certainly does. Those batteries take a lot of work to create. One study puts CO2 emissions during production at 59% more than traditional combustion engines.  

There’s also the fact that most car batteries are currently made in China, South Korea and Japan, where the use of carbon in electricity production is high compared to other parts of the world. In other words, they’re being manufactured on some seriously polluting grids.  

Oh, that doesn’t sound too good 

It’s not. BUT if these countries adopt more renewable energy going forward, these emissions will drop significantly. In China this is expected to rise sharply between now and 2025. So that figure will hopefully come down by a lot.  

What about the materials used to make the batteries? 

Yeah, honestly, right now, that’s not a great situation. Batteries rely on lithium as well as copper, iron and aluminium. All of these rely on carbon and water-intensive means of extraction. And there are human rights issues here as well as environmental, with conflict between international mining companies and indigenous communities and biodiversity habitat loss.  

On top of that, there’s no clear plan for recycling the massively increasing number of car batteries, which we reeeaaally don’t want to see as yet more waste.  

So what’s the skinny?  

Electric cars are better for the environment than petrol or diesel cars, that’s for sure. But there are some major issues in their production when it comes to the planet. We’ll need to see a huge swing to renewable energy in production, and a clear plan for recycling batteries before they come close to being the green dream. Better regulation of relationships with local communities as well as an obligation to protect habitats and sensitive ecosystems and watersheds would ideally be in place too.  

We like how Thea Riofrancos, associate professor of political science at Providence College, Rhode Island puts it

“A transportation system based on individual electric vehicles, for example, with landscapes dominated by highways and suburban sprawl, is much more resource- and energy-intensive than one that favours mass transit and alternatives such as walking and cycling.” 

In other words, hopping on your bike, the bus, the train or your own two feet is going to be a heck of a lot greener than driving anywhere in your electric car.  

And right now, doing any of those things is going to stop us being part of the problem, and free up some fuel for those who really need it. Win win!  

*If anyone has a spare unicorn, can we borrow it for the school run plz?  

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Taking #2minute over the pond with #2minutecampusclean

from Andrea Harvey, campaigns manager at #2minutebeachclean

I’d been warned that it got hot in South Carolina in the summer. They weren’t joking with daily temperatures over 100o. Anyway, myself and social media guru Paul Trueman travelled to Clemson University with Renée Bedford from Coca-Cola North America to meet with their Dear Future Community Challenge grant winner, Bridget Cowen and the recycling team from Clemson, to check out the ideas we had developed together as part of Bridget’s grant winning idea to boost recycling on game days.

Unlike in the UK, US university sports are huge. Clemson Tigers, the university’s championship winning team, have an enormous following, with around 100,000 fans turning up to watch games and attend tailgating parties, where food and beverages are served under Clemson Tiger gazebos at the backs of pick-up trucks and cars. College football is such a big deal, that some of the national television networks screen the games live.

With 80,000 fans piling into the football stadium on a hot day, not getting sunburnt and keeping hydrated, are top priorities. With fans unable to bring in refillable water bottles into the stadium (but allowed to bring in a sealed bottle of water), potentially 80,000 plastic water bottles are being brought into the stadium during each home game, and to add to that, fans have further opportunities to buy refreshments from concessions inside the stadium.

All of this means that there is a lot of waste to be disposed of, recycled and processed outside of the stadium, as well as inside. One issue that the incredibly hard working Clemson University recycling team and their volunteers encounter after each game, is that a lot of material that could be recycled, is contaminated with food and drink waste. So, our task was to see how we could help reduce contamination of recycling and boost recycling rates overall.

To tackle these issues, working with Bridget, the Clemson University recycling team, the sustainability team at Coca-Cola North America and the local Coca-Cola bottler, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, we worked together to develop a toolkit of ideas that the University could use based around the idea of the #2minutebeachclean by creating the #2minutecampusclean. One idea was to give tailgaters clear plastic sacks with printed instructions on what and how to recycle. The hope is that these sacks will reduce contamination and increase the material recycled. Having clear sacks also makes the sorting job for the recycling team and their dedicated band of volunteers, who have to sort through the waste and recycling in the days following the game, easier and safer to deal with.

We sourced some orange recycling bins (that look like the Clemson football souvenir cups) for empty bottles and cans, and stickered some of the existing recycling bins to make them more obvious as to what their purpose was.

As well as investing in signage to be placed near the stadiums and of course, a #2minutebeachclean station for the artificial beach at the lake(!), the toolkit of ideas has really started to come together. We provided t-shirts to be given to the volunteers as a thank you for their outstanding efforts in handing out the recycling sacks, spreading the recycling message and sorting through the waste and recyclables in very hot and difficult conditions. Posters with recycling information were placed around campus and in bars and food outlets, thanks to Bridget and her sorority sisters. Bridget is also going to be working on some education resources for the local elementary school. We also had a specially designed #2minutestreetclean board made for this school.

To get fans in the #2minutecampusclean mood, they could win prizes by taking a photo of themselves recycling, using the #2minutecampusclean hashtag and posting it on social media.

We got lots of positive feedback from football fans about the messaging, the bags and the bins so it will be interesting to see if they have made any difference when the recycling rates have been analysed. Clemson University are already recycling champs, as they have won the RecycleMania National GameDay Recycling Championship in 2018 and 2017. The college football season runs until December so hopefully we won’t have too long to wait to find out what the outcome for 2019 will be, fingers crossed!

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