It is a truly terrifying statistic that could come back to haunt us.
Britons have dumped Halloween costumes and plastic props weighing at least as much as 1,000 double-decker buses this year.
More than 12,500 tons of ‘cheap and nasty’ novelties, discarded after just a few hours’ use, will clog up landfill sites or end up in oceans, poisoning marine life.
Items that light up are an even bigger environmental horror story as they contain batteries that leak toxic chemicals into the environment.
The scale of the problem is revealed as new research shows that the amount of rubbish found on Britain’s seabeds has soared by more than 150 per cent in a year.
Britons have dumped Halloween costumes and plastic props weighing at least as much as 1,000 double-decker buses this year. (File photo)
Mark Hall, director of Business Waste Management, said: ‘These costumes are made of cheap and nasty types of plastics and every year it gets worse and worse with millions of the garments simply thrown away, clogging up landfill and polluting the land and the sea.
‘If people want to dress up, they should make their own costumes at home rather than continuing to fund this kind of industry.’
The UK market in Halloween novelties such as fake spider webs, devil horns and face masks is now worth £510 million a year.
Mr Hall said the days after October 31 were the ‘busiest of the year’ for his industry and warned that the type of plastics used in Halloween costumes are ‘impossible to recycle’. And charity shops are unable to accept most plastic Halloween costumes because they are flammable.
Professor Richard Thompson, from the University of Plymouth, an expert on marine debris, said: ‘These throwaway lightweight plastic costumes are extremely likely to escape into the environment and find their way into the ocean.
More than 12,500 tons of ‘cheap and nasty’ novelties, discarded after just a few hours’ use, will clog up landfill sites or end up in oceans, poisoning marine life. (File photo)
‘The vast amount of litter in the ocean is a symptom of a much wider problem of the single use of plastics that needs to be stamped out.’
Sarah Divall, from environmental group Hubbub, added: ‘These costumes are simply just not worn again because they’re so cheap, so most people just throw them in the bin straight afterwards.’
Her group commissioned the research, which came up with the 12,500-ton figure for last year – and campaigners expect that amount to rise by about 20 per cent for 2017.
In another example of Halloween waste, 18,000 tons of pumpkins are dumped every year – enough for a bowl of soup for every person in Britain.