The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department is committed to protecting, restoring, and enhancing natural resources on the Soboba Reservation for all tribal members past, present, and future.
What We Do
The Environmental Department works to raise awareness of all aspects of the environment. This includes solid waste issues, pollution prevention, water and air quality, conservation measures, household hazardous waste disposal, and many other areas. In addition to community outreach and education efforts such as participating in community events, the department also hosts an annual Tribal Earth Day event and community clean up days. We also conduct surface water quality testing on streams running through the reservation, collect and manage geographical data, and create programs to address environmental concerns.
An easy way to begin learning about the environment around you is to visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency website and use MyEnvironment
Halloween is here at Soboba
Fall is here! As the leaves turn autumn colors and begin to fall we are reminded that Halloween is right around the corner. The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department wants everyone to have a safe and fun Halloween and to also consider making it a more GREEN HALLOWEEN. Here are some eco-friendly tips to make your Halloween greener and much more fun!
Costumes bought in stores are often made of non-recyclable petroleum based plastics and synthetic fibers such as polyvinyl chloride also known as PVC. Not only are these materials not renewable and add waste to our landfills, but the PVC in them is also known to be carcinogen and can release toxins over time.
- Buy costumes made of natural fabrics and materials
- Make your own costumes from natural fabrics and materials. This solution also cuts down on waste from unnecessary plastic packaging
- Have a costume swap party where friends, family, and neighbors can swap costumes and benefit form affordability and wise reuse
Many ghoulish face paints used for Halloween are just that, ghoulish, containing lead, chromium, and nickel which are proven to cause neurological damage in children. These paints are can be unhealthy for the wearer and toxic to the environment after disposal.
- Choose face paints that are organic and non-toxic that comply with the standards set by the campaign for safe cosmetics (www.safecosmetics.org)
- Try creating your own homemade organic face paints (see easy recipe at the bottom of page)
Treats are one of the best parts about Halloween, but most of the candies out there are not particularly healthy and contain chemicals for coloring and artificial flavoring. According to the Environmental Protection Agency over 30 percent of municipal solid waste in the U.S. comes in the form of packaging, including the fun-size candy wrappers for Halloween treats. It was also reported that over 40 million children went trick or treating last year that adds up to be a lot of waste.
- Buy organic goodies that are yummy and good for you. Retailers such as Wholefoods, Sprouts, and Toy R Us are just some of the many places that carry organic Halloween treats
- If buying large amounts of candy, it is always a good idea to buy in bulk to reduce the amount of waste and individual packaging. Studies have shown that candies that are individually wrapped in boxes are more often recycled than plastic wrapped ones, so it’s good to keep recyclability in mind when choosing your favorite treats
- If buying decorative lights to illuminate walkways for trick or treaters, or just decorative string lighting, always consider LED lights. LED lights are much more energy efficient and have a return investment of 47% over 10 years
- Candles are a highly used lighting source during Halloween especially in our spooky carved pumpkins. This Halloween remember that most candles are made of petroleum products like paraffin which create pollutants when burned which can be damaging to the indoor and outdoor environments. Replacing regular candles with eco-friendly soy candles is great alternative for a ghostly glow
Pumpkins, Décor, and More…
- Buy local and try organic. Support your local economy and save on the carbon foot print by buying locally.
- When Halloween is over consider composting all your pumpkins, it reduces pumpkin pile up in landfills where they produce methane and other greenhouse gasses. It can also be a great treat for your vegetable garden.
- Before composting that organic locally bought pumpkin, remember to use as much of it as possible. Pumpkin seeds are a great snack they are high in zinc, iron and other beneficial minerals. After carving and cleaning out your pumpkin you can save the pulp to use for many baked goods like pies and muffins.
Trick or Treating Bags:
- Disposable treat bags are the number one item thrown away after the holiday. It’s easy to pick up a new one, but consider using a pillow case, wicker basket or any other useful household item. If you do end up buying a new one this year, remember to take the time to reduce waste and save it for next year.
- Use natural decorations like real pumpkins and gourds
- Use old black panty hose for spider web by shredding and tearing them to look like a terrifying web
- Stuff black trash bags with old recyclable newspaper to make a giant spider or make a face and create a big black pumpkin
- Revamp old plastic pumpkins by giving them a fresh coat of eco-friendly paint
- Make lanterns from used plastic milk jugs which you can recycle when your done
As a good rule of thumb when planning festivities and fun for this Halloween, think natural, reusable, and recyclable.
Here are Some Environmentally Fun Ideas and Recipes
Homemade Face Paint Recipe
1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa butter or thick organic lotion
Organic food coloring or bright flowers and berries
3 tbsp. cornstarch
- Mix the lotion and cornstarch to create a thick paste. Use your preferred thick lotion that is organic and hypoallergenic to avoid rashes.
- Add food coloring a drop at a time to the paste and mix it in until you achieve the desired color. If using a natural dye alternative like berries or flowers you may have to follow a different process to release the color. You can squeeze pomegranate seeds, but a quick way to a deeper shade is to use a blender to make a juice and use a few drops to color your paste. You can also squeeze or juice berries of most types. Boil flower petals in water in a small container in a microwave to release the color. If working with children, using prepackaged food coloring is the easier option.
- Apply the paint to your face.
Pumpkin Seed Roasting Recipe
1 ½ cups of pumpkin seeds (air dried for at least an hour)
1 teaspoon organic olive oil
2 pinches of salt
2 teaspoons of butter
- Preheat oven to 325 fahrenheit
- Toss air-dried seeds in olive oil (use large mixing bowl)
- Spread on a baking sheet and place in oven
- Stir them after 10 and 20 minutes
- At the 25 minute mark drop butter onto seeds and stir to coat
- Roast for 5 more minutes
- Cool before eating and enjoy
For an extra bit of spice add some cumin and chili powder or your favorite seasoning salt or spice rub.
Make your Own Paper Mache Candy Bowl
Why buy one when you can create eco-friendly memories making one
Flour Mache Glue
- Mix one part flour with one part water (1 cup flour and one cup water) until it becomes a glue-like consistency. You can always add more water if mixture is too thick
- Mix thoroughly until there are no lumps
- Add a few tablespoons of salt to the mixture to prevent molding, especially if storing for more than a day
Old newspaper cut into strips or squares
Mixing bowl or Semispherical object to shape the bowl
Plastic grocery bag or plastic wrap
- Cover the base of bowl with a plastic grocery bag and secure
- Dip newspaper strips into glue removing excess glue
- Lay strips across the covered bowl base until entire area is covered
- Let bowls dry for 24 hours
- Trim the edges of the bowl to remove jaggedness if desired
- Paint your favorite Halloween design
The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween