By Celine Tran
As Halloween slowly approaches, many stores are starting to sell delicious treats in bulk. Shelves will be packed with all sorts of snacks, from chips to lollipops and chocolate to gummies. Although it sounds amazing to get all of these delights for such a low price, it all comes with a cost. In this article, we’ll be discussing how harmful these treats really are, such as where the rest of the treat goes, and how to prevent them from doing any more damage.
Imagine, you’re coming home after a long night out of trick or treating. You empty your stash of goods on the kitchen counter and start sorting through them. After you finish making sure all your snacks are safe to eat, you go right at it, eating all of the delicious treats you’ve worked so hard collecting. This might sound like a regular Halloween night, and it is, but there’s a catch. People are so focused on what’s on the inside of the candy, (which is important, not saying that it isn’t) but what about on the outside? Have you ever thought about where all those plastic single-use wrappers go after you rip them open and throw them out?
A lot of people don’t really give throwing out wrappers a second thought. It just seems like it won’t do anything considering the size they usually come in. Well, it’s actually really harmful considering how wrappers pile up over time from so many things being individually wrapped in them. Recycling isn’t an option since wrappers are actually pretty hard to recycle since they’re made out of a mixture of materials rather than just one thing. So, let’s say you do throw them out, it’s not your problem now, right? Well, although it isn’t direct, it does eventually come back to you. Wrappers aren’t biodegradable and never truly go away. Even if they do get broken down, it takes decades to do so, and they just break into smaller pieces and end up in natural environments. The worst part is that, during decomposition, the material wrappers are made out of releases toxic gases and can pollute things like soil. The soil could be the soil that your next meal is being grown on, you never know.
So, what can you do about this issue? You can send the wrappers to certain companies that can recycle them for you, but you have to pay them. You can also get crafty and turn the wrappers into art. Other than that, there isn’t that much you can really do. However, there is one option: Being informed and urging companies to change their practices. We’re already heading in the right direction with things such as paper straws, so why stop there? The good news is that some companies have started to realize this issue and are planning to change or already have. For example, a company known as Alter Eco sells chocolate with compostable wrappers. Another example is that Mars, a company that owns several candy brands, is looking to create biodegradable wrappers for the candy Skittles. They believe that this will be implemented in late 2021 or early 2022. For other companies however, we can urge them to change by signing petitions or spreading the word so it gets attention and eventually gets into mainstream media.
So for this Halloween, whether you're giving out the candy or receiving it, keep the candy wrappers in mind. The issue with giving out candy that isn't in a wrapper is that it could pose a risk that it's been tampered with, so the only thing us consumers can really do is urge companies to make a change for the better. If you’re still worried though, there are a bunch of cool crafts online that you can make with candy wrappers or if you have the money you can send them off to be recycled by companies like TerraCycle.