5 facts and tips for a more eco-friendly, green Halloween
I am sure many of us don’t think about the consequences of the plethora of Hershey’s chocolates or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups filling up our seemingly bottomless trick-or-treat pillow case. We may not think that our Kit-Kat bar has anything to do with climate change, but in fact it does, and it all has to do with this little ingredient called palm oil. So, here are some things to consider before purchasing and consuming all our favorite sweets:
- In 2007, the IPCC reported that the amount of carbon released as a result of deforestation accounts for about 17% of all global emissions that contribute to climate change . A large percentage of deforestation can be attributed to palm oil production.
- According to the USDA, this year, the US imported 2.7 million pounds or 380 million gallons of palm oil .
- Around 90% of palm oil comes from biodiversity-rich regions of Indonesia and Malaysia where rainforests are set on fire using a slash and burn technique, and low-lying tropical peatlands are drained, many illegally . Habitat loss is one of the leading causes of species extinction.
- Over the last 33 years, the square mileage of palm oil lands has increased 15 times and the Indonesian government plans to convert millions more hectares of rainforests into palm oil plantations by 2020 .
- Peatland and rainforests, although they occupy a small percentage of earth’s landmass, both have significant impacts on the carbon cycle by sequestering carbon and serving as natural carbon reservoirs.
But…Don’t worry! We don’t have to suspend our beloved Halloween sugar rush; however, we might consider making more mindful consumer choices when selecting candy brands.
Here are some Green Ninja recommendations for some “green” candy choices:
- Endangered Species Chocolate: Palm oil used meets the highest certification for sustainability and they donate 10% of their net profits to conservation organizations.
- Justin’s: Uses palm oil from highly-ranked climate and conservation-friendly palm oil producer Agropalma
- Equal Exchange: They don’t use palm oil, and they work with small farmer co-ops. Read their annual report here.
- Alter Eco: Uses organic, fair trade coconut oil, and the wrappers are fully decomposable.
But wait, there is also a silver lining! Earlier this year, the three largest palm oil companies collaborated with major palm oil consuming companies in an effort to limit unsustainable farming practices. The UN reports that 60% of all palm oil farmers and consumers have committed to sustainable practices to fight deforestation and climate change. The effort could reduce 400-450 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2020 . Now, wouldn’t that be great!
So this Halloween consider who you buy your candy from, and although these alternative candy options might not do much for your health, they’ll do wonders for the environment’s!
Thanks for reading….and have a GREEN, fair trade Halloween!
-the Green Toothfairy
,  The Economist