Trick or treating season is coming up quickly, and we know how much kids and families enjoy getting out and going door to door in their neighborhoods for candy and scares!
Unfortunately, trick-or-treating creates a lot of single-use waste. According to this article,
"the average trick-or-treater generates 1 pound of trash, and most of that is plastic candy wrappers. Flimsy plastic like this isn't typically recycled because the broken down material has little to no value on the recycled materials market."
Another eye-opening statistic is that each year, Americans purchase more than 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween alone. Thinking big picture, Rubicon reminds us, "without proper recycling, almost all of that plastic ends up in landfills or oceans, where it breaks down into invisible microplastics that then invade our soil, plants, wildlife, and—eventually—our bodies."
So, what can we do to create a fun, enjoyable trick-or-treating experience that is also more sustainable?
1. Search for candy to give out that is packaged in paper or aluminum foil
Many candies come in paper boxes, which are much easier to recycle than plastic wrappers. Plus, you can even compost them if they aren't coated. Necco wafers, for example, are wrapped in compostable wax paper. Nerds, Dots, Whoppers, and Junior Mints are sometimes packaged in compostable paper boards. Aluminum is also highly recyclable - especially if you combine multiple bits of packaging into a larger ball that won't slip through the recycling machinery or get lost in the mix.
You can find all kinds of Aluminum foil wrapped candies like these and Alter Eco Truffles. Purchasing candy in bulk at the grocery store and putting it in reusable little baggies is a great option.
2. Fruits instead of candy
Offering whole fruit like oranges, bananas, and apples is a great alternative! Their peels can then go straight to composting! Selecting fruits that have a peel is best for health and sanitary reasons.
3. Swap Bevvies for Candies
Try offering canned, aluminum, or glass beverages! These are just as much fun to receive for your candy-crazed visitors. Whether it's soda, seltzer water, juice, kombucha or anything else, these can be a fun, sustainable, and easy-to-recycle switch-up!
Did you know? Glass can be recycled infinitely, which makes it potentially the most sustainable packaging option.
Okay...so we're kinda kidding here. But this idea seems to be a hit for one house! Sarah Ross shared that she threw a potato in the candy bowl to spice things up and was met with excitement, joy, dismay, and a mix of other emotions from Trick-or-Treaters! Funnily enough, many of the kids chose a potato over candy!
5. Coin or Treat
To a kid, a 50-cent or dollar coin means a lot. Instead of candy, you could switch to giving out coins to your trick or treats for an option that never goes bad, and either gets saved up or used immediately!