If you’re like us, you probably know there’s nothing not to like about candy. Well – almost nothing. While this universally loved sweet treat has been spreading joy across the world for centuries, it can be kind of a bummer for the environment. That’s because of those pesky plastic and aluminum candy wrappers that can be difficult to recycle.
The threat of climate change puts more focus than ever on environmentally friendly practices. So, it’s natural to wonder how you can reduce your impact on the planet while still enjoying your favorite things (read: satisfying your sweet tooth). You’re probably wondering, can candy wrappers be recycled? In this blog, we’ll answer that question and give eco-friendly candy lovers some tips for having their cake and eating it too.
Can candy wrappers be recycled?
The short answer is, unfortunately, no. Because they’re made of a mix of materials like plastics and aluminum, most candy wrappers can’t be recycled.
The general rule is that the fewer materials something is made of, the easier (and less expensive) it is to recycle. Plastic bottles like those that contain water or soft drinks are usually made from one or two materials. This makes it easier for them to break down and get re-used. This increases their end-use potential for consumers and decreases the overall cost of recycling. In other words, fewer materials equal a higher incentive for recycling companies by making it worth their while.
Think about the simple example of a glass jar: it’s made from one material, and that material is super durable. It takes virtually no effort or cost to convert what was once a container for, say, strawberry jam into a pot for your newest succulent.
Mixed materials, on the other hand, are much harder to recycle. Dissembling the mixed materials and finding ways to re-use them is a little like un-making a salad and trying to re-use the ingredients: difficult, messy, and probably won’t result in anything very appetizing or substantial. Recycling mixed materials like candy wrappers or potato chip bags is simply too labor-intensive and expensive to be worth it.
So how can you make your candy consumption more eco-friendly?
If you love sweets AND the planet, there’s no need to despair. While you may not be able to single-handedly reduce the world’s wrapper waste, you can make some slight adjustments to your habits that will make a difference.
1. Find niche recycling services.
While most recycling bins are no-wrapper zones, there are some niche recycling services that specialize in recycling “un-recyclable” materials. One such organization is TerraCycle. TerraCycle offers what they call a zero-waste box you can use to send them candy wrappers, snack bags, and other mixed materials. While the service does come at a price, it’s a reliable, flexible, and most importantly environmentally-conscious way to dispose of any candy wrapper build-up you’ve accumulated.
2. Upcycle wrappers, bags, and containers.
If you can’t reduce, you can always reuse. Today, there’s no shortage of creative ways to reuse products you can’t put in the recycling bin (including your Candy Club containers!).
Candy wrapper crafts like jewelry, wallets, totes, and coasters aren’t just great for the environment. They’re also a fun way to get the kids to stretch their creative muscles on weekends, school holidays, or rainy days. Mix fun and education by making it a joyful process end-to-end. Take time to enjoy the candy, make your crafts, and learn about the environment and the importance of waste reduction along the way.
3. Buy candy in bulk.
Whether it’s candy, nuts, or other snacks, shopping in bulk is one of the best and easiest ways to cut down on packaging. You simply get a higher ratio of product to packaging. And, with candy, you can often cut out wrappers altogether. Candy Club packs all its gourmet candy into upcycle-able plastic jars in a variety of sizes – no wrappers or mixed plastic bags to worry about.
Live Sweetly At Home and On Earth
You may not be able to throw your candy wrappers in the recycling bin, but with these tips, you can at least reduce your candy’s packaging and get creative with the packaging you already have. To learn more about Candy Club’s monthly subscription boxes, check out our candies today.