Zero Waste Trick Or Treat Tip: Candy Wrappers Are Not Recyclable

Zero Waste Tip: Candy wrappers are not recyclable, please dispose of candy wrappers in the trash.

Nope.  Those candy wrappers enveloping those enticing Trick or Treats?  They are not recyclable.  They may feel like paper, but they’re actually a composite of materials including plastics and aluminum, and therefore, those buckets of wrappers I’ve personally generated while sitting at Zoom meetings these past two weeks are destined for the landfill.  

Here’s the good news, though.  Manufacturers are listening to candy consumers (including their own kids) who are concerned about trashing the planet.  Mars Wrigley, for example, is working with Danimer Scientific to develop “home compostable packaging” for its products.  The companies are developing flexible wrappers out of Nodax polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) made from naturally fermented plant oils such as soy and canola that biodegrade in both soil and marine environments. These companies believe biodegradable packaging is the better option than recycled/recyclable materials because candy wrappers often end up as litter.

Another biobased material from Rodenburg Biopolymers is starch-based made from potato-processing waste.  Other companies are working on recyclable and post-consumer recycled packaging.

But for now, please don’t toss the wrappers into the recycle. They’re too small, therefore too costly to extract, and thus contaminate the recycle stream.

And for now, please contact manufacturers to let them know you want them to save our planet for us now and for our descendent trick-or-treaters one bite-sized candy treat at a time.  There’s a phone number or email address right on the bag. Wouldn’t that be totally sweet for everybody!