Details of Rubicon’s “Trick or Trash” Halloween candy program for educators and their students, which was announced by the company two weeks ago, were featured on HuffPost:
Americans will buy approximately 600 million pounds of Halloween candy this year, spending $2.6 billion on bite-sized candy bars and bags of candy corn. After the holiday, nearly all the wrappers and packages from these confections will end up in landfills, where they’ll sit around for decades or more.
Candy wrappers are very hard to recycle. Like most food wrappers and packages, candy wrappers are not meant to be mixed with bottles and cans and sent to a sorting facility.
Recycling systems aren’t designed to capture and sort wrappers “because they have little dollar value,” said Nick McCulloch, senior manager of sustainability at Rubicon, a waste reduction tech company.
“Recycling is in part about economics — the value of the raw materials you’re collecting needs to exceed the cost of collecting them. Candy wrappers make that math hard because they’re made from low-value plastics,” he told HuffPost. “You’d have to collect tens of thousands of wrappers to help make those economics work.”
This month, recycling company TerraCycle and tech company Rubicon partnered to launched a “Trick or Trash” program for Halloween candy wrappers. Initially, school teachers and students could request a free recycling box before the holiday; and once the box was full, they’d return it to TerraCycle, which cleans and breaks down the wrappers to be made into new items. But due to overwhelming demand in more than 40 states, the companies had to stop sending out free boxes. Schools can still purchase a recycling box for snack and candy wrappers, but they’ll have to pay TerraCycle $81 to cover the costs associated with recycling these items.