This year’s Trick or Trash™ recycling and education campaign, designed to help reduce the waste that accumulates every year around Halloween, is continuing to divert candy wrappers away from landfills as schools, small businesses, and community organizations across the country encourage kids and adults alike to recycle their Halloween candy wrappers.

The campaign, now in its third year, provides safe and easy-to-assemble recycling boxes to schools and small businesses, as well as a critical educational component, co-created by Rubicon and the National Wildlife Federation, that focuses on the role of recycling within the circular economy. The educational materials include K-12 lesson plans, a reading list for university and college students, and a useful factsheet for business participants.

For this Trick or Trash Spotlight, I spoke with Marnee Burrus, a self-contained 3rd grade teacher at Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona.

What drew you to participate in Trick or Trash?

I saw an ad online and it led me to read more about the program! I am always looking for ways to teach my students about sustainability that have real-world connections for them.

What do Emerson Elementary students enjoy most about Trick or Trash?

They love knowing that they are helping to keep plastic out of landfills by doing something as simple as bringing in their Halloween candy wrappers.

How do you teach the Trick or Trash lesson plan in school?

On the last school day before Halloween, our entire room was decorated for Halloween and all of our lessons had a Halloween theme. The students really enjoyed the Trick or Trash lesson. I think making the real-world connection between what they are doing and why was engaging for them. I think they most enjoyed laying the candy wrappers out, sorting, tallying, and graphing them. Since the lesson, I have noticed students utilizing the vocabulary words “resource, recycling, and waste.”

What are the most common questions that you get from students, parents, and other teachers about Trick or Trash?

Common questions have been if they can bring in all of the candy wrappers from their neighborhood, will the school hold an assembly to acknowledge the student’s work, and how many wrappers do we think we will be able to fit in that box?

Finally, what has been the most common candfy wrapper in your Trick or Trash box so far?

So far, the most common wrapper in our box has been a tie between Sour Patch Kids and Starburst.


Katie Kinnear is Director of Engagement Strategy at Rubicon and was the inspiration behind creating the Trick or Trash campaign. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.