October has arrived which means fall treats, candy, parties, and Halloween! Holidays produce a significant amount of waste. According to Recycle Nation, 600 million pounds of candy are purchased every year in the United States. However, the candy is not so much the problem here as are the wrappers. Unfortunately, candy wrappers are not recyclable which either causes excessive landfill waste or contaminates the recycling process. Below, find tips to reduce your waste this Halloween and learn how to dispose of your holiday waste properly.
Trick or Treating:
Use eco-friendly bags such as pillowcases, tote bags, or others you may have laying around.
When discarding of candy wrappers, please ensure they end up in your curbside landfill bin. Unfortunately, these wrappers cannot be recycled. If you want to find a way to recycle your wrappers, TerraCycle has wrapper boxes and bags that you can fill and send back to them for proper recycling.
When buying candy, look for those with less plastic—such as candy packaged in recyclable cardboard (i.e. Nerds® and Dots®).
Research done in 2019 by the Hubbub Foundation found the amount of Halloween costumes discarded in the UK annually equates to 83 million plastic soda bottles. While a similar study has not yet been conducted in the US, the results would likely show a larger number due to the United States’ larger population (census.gov).
Many Halloween costumes on the market are made with plastic fibers and packaged in single use plastic, and many are worn only once.
You can help cut down on your costume waste by DIYing your own Halloween costume: use items already in your closet, clothing from thrift stores, items you will wear in the future, or borrow from a friend.
According to Waste Dive, 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins end up in U.S. landfills annually. Luckily, these can go in your curbside organics bin! Be sure to remove any candles or candle wax from your pumpkins prior to disposing of them. EDCO will process these pumpkins in their anerobic digestor facility to keep them out of the landfill.
For more information on low waste living in Encinitas, visit the City’s Trash and Recycling Webpage.