Each year in the United States, 600 million pounds of candy is purchased during the Halloween season. One thing that many people overlook is the fact that each piece of candy comes in a plastic wrapper that must be disposed of somewhere, and most recycling programs are not able to handle these wrappers because they are composite in nature, meaning they are manufactured from a combination of raw materials, and that typically they are collected in too small a volume to provide usable recycled output. That’s where Trick or Trash comes in.
In 2019, Rubicon launched Trick or Trash™ to divert as many of these candy wrappers from the landfill as possible, instead integrating them into the circular economy.
Over the years, the campaign has garnered attention from several other industry innovators that employ their expertise to strengthen its reach and impact. Most recently, Mars, Incorporated has partnered with Rubicon to create eco-friendly, recyclable trick-or-treat bags as an expansion of Trick or Trash.
We recently had the pleasure of joining a number of other partners on a lively webinar, sponsored by GreenBiz, in which we discussed educating communities on the importance of participating in the circular economy. We explored the inception of Trick or Trash, the challenges it has faced over the years, and highlighted a couple of the amazing partnerships that have formed along the way. While some of the main topics of discussion are covered in this post, for those looking to watch the webinar in its entirety, it can be found on Rubicon’s YouTube channel, or below:
The webinar featured Rubicon’s Director of Engagement Strategy, Katie Kinnear, the driving force behind the creation of Trick or Trash; Kristy Jones, Director of Higher Education Programs at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF); Rachel Kroll, National Accounts Manager at g2 revolution; and it was moderated by Suz Okie, Director of Design Strategy & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy at GreenBiz.
Katie kicked the webinar off, speaking on the early days of Trick or Trash, the evolution of the program, and some of the challenges it has faced. Officially in the program’s fourth year, Rubicon has seen steady growth in the number of boxes ordered nationwide, having shipped out nearly 2,000 boxes in 2021 and having more than 2,500 boxes ordered to date across all 50 states in 2022.
This growth did not come without challenges. Along the way, the Rubicon team realized that many communities lacked education on why these tiny plastic wrappers pose such a large threat to the environmental health of our planet. Since opening the program to small businesses in 2020, Rubicon has discovered that 30 percent of teachers report recycling education in their schools is “limited” to “non-existent.” Fifty percent of business owners felt the same way about recycling opportunities in their communities. Hearing these statistics sparked a need for strategic partnerships that would allow Rubicon to expand the reach of Trick or Trash.
Education on this matter in schools is a great way to ensure people are impacted from an early age and inspired to use what they learn throughout their lifetime. This is exactly what the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) helps Rubicon achieve. Since 1989, NWF has been a leader in advancing sustainability efforts in the areas of campus operations and educational curriculum. Kristy Jones provided detail on a couple of incredible programs offered by NWF, including its Eco-Schools USA and Campus Race to Zero Waste programs.
Additionally, to support students in their post-academic life, NWF has a Sustainable Careers program in which they help students understand that they can take their interest and passion for sustainability into whichever career or industry they choose to work.
To spread awareness to businesses, Rubicon is proudly partnered with g2 revolution, an innovator in the waste and recycling industry that helps businesses realize the value in their waste as it relates to the circular economy. G2 takes waste from businesses in all industries that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill, and they use innovative methods to recycle, repurpose, or reuse these materials. They also apply these methods to resources such as damaged, leaking, or overstocked products.
Rubicon was thrilled to participate in this webinar, and we would like to extend a special thank you to its partners for joining in, and GreenBiz for hosting.
If you are interested in learning more about how Rubicon helps schools, businesses, and community organizations prevent candy wrappers from entering landfills, please take a look at the Trick or Trash website and its library of downloadable content, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.