Solid Waste & Recycling Newsletter

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Solid Waste & Recycling Newsletter

Are Candy Wrappers Recyclable?Bowl of Candy with wrappers

Halloween is a fun time of year filled with costumes, decorations, pumpkins, and of course treats and snacks! After you claw into that familiar, crinkly packaging and de-mummify the treat inside, it’s important to properly dispose of the wrappers in the trash. Why Candy Wrappers Can't Go in Your Home Recycling Bin - The Scary Truth

Candy wrappers can't go in your home recycling bin because they are often made of what’s known as “multi-material packaging.” This means the packaging is made up of different types of materials. You’ll notice most candy has a shiny metal on the inside as compared to the outside. This helps protect and keep treats fresh, but it makes the packaging very difficult to recycle because of the challenge of separating the materials from each other.

Small Wrappers, Big Impacts

Residential recycling programs are designed for items such as bottles, jugs, cans, jars, cardboard, and mail - not candy wrappers. Since the wrappers are small and lightweight, the equipment is often not designed to sort it out. When candy wrappers and other non-recyclables cannot be sorted out, they contaminate other valuable material streams like cardboard, plastics, metal, or glass. When these other valuable material streams are contaminated, it is much harder to reuse them and make them into new products.

What to Do About Your Candy Wrapper Woes

Have no fear - it's never too late to start recycling right. You can directly participate in being part of the solution.

  • Share what you’ve learned. Start by making sure you and other family members know to dispose of candy wrappers in the trash.
  • Protect your recycling bin. Make a fun Halloween sign for your recycling bin that says, “No Candy Wrappers!”.
  • Go Above and Beyond. Research special mail-back or drop-off programs that accept candy wrappers separately for recycling. These innovative new programs are able to separate multi-material packaging and handle candy wrappers when collected separately.
  • Make your own candy. Reduce candy wrapper waste by making your own. Get creative and fun in the kitchen preparing sweet treats for the whole family.

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