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Candy wrappers cannot be recycled

Candy wrappers are not recyclable. Now before someone jumps down my throat, yes they are reusable and upcyclable. There are a couple of places that collect and make stuff out of the candy wrapper material. TerraCycle does this. They actually have a program set up for candy wrappers specifically.

That being said it doesn’t mean people can throw them in regular paper or single stream recycling. The discarded candy wrapper won’t magically find its way with his other candy wrapper friends to their specific recycling program somewhere.

Most likely anyone reading this blog wouldn’t throw his or her empty candy wrapper in the wrong bin. Many of you reading this though, would be very surprised how often people do toss these wrappers into recycling bins instead of trash bins.

I come across these pesky wrappers all year round, but around Halloween they spike. Starting roughly two weeks before Halloween (right about now) till about December I find candy wrappers mixed in with people’s paper recycling every day.

At the beginning of this year (mid January) I dumped a barrel of paper and found a sprinkling of Halloween candy wrappers mixed in. It was very festive looking. The shiny pleasant mix of colors against a background of white paper even distracted me for a moment. As festive and colorful as it looked it was a huge pain in the derrière to pick all the little wrappers (as many as I could see) out of the pile of paper.

Constantly I ask myself why are people tossing these wrappers in with paper recycling? Usually in most places my company services there is a trash bin within eyesight of a recycling bin. Is it pure laziness? Do they just discard whatever they have into whatever waste type bin is nearest to them at that moment? Do some people believe this material can be recycled? These are questions that have rolled around in my head many days sitting in the cab of our trucks at work.

There is a ton of candy wrappers being discarded. I’m only seeing the small amounts that were tossed accidentally into a recycling bin. It helps me to imagine how many wrappers are produced and thrown away in a year, especially around Halloween.

A few small candy wrappers doesn’t seem like a big deal waste wise, although a few can add up. Candy bars are packaged in a one-use cheap disposable wrapper. There’s probably not to many ways around this for mass-produced candy and similar food items. Especially when catering to the Halloween concept.

I know I like to enjoy a candy bar or two; I’m not the only one. I feel a little guilty having a candy bar or buying one at a store. Knowing the kind waste that results from these snacks kind of stops me from wanting one. I guess that isn’t a bad thing.

Two things to take away from this blog: One, candy wrappers cannot be recycled in regular recycling programs and two, there is an amazing amount of waste created from enjoying candy bars, especially around Halloween.