How to recycle a candy wrapper

CBC Kids News • Published 2018-11-02 06:00

Either it’ll cost you or it’s free, depending on where you live

It’s the not-so-good part of Halloween.

All of those individually wrapped treats are delicious, but the wrappers take up a lot of space in the landfill.

Unless, of course, you can figure out a way to recycle them.

Thankfully, there are some options.

Toffees wrapped in Halloween-themed wrappers.

Recycle BC started accepting candy wrappers for recycling at certain locations this summer. (Canadian Press)

Chip bags and candy wrappers aren’t usually accepted for recycling in Canada because they’re made of different materials — like plastic and foil — all mixed together.

If you live in B.C., a new program was launched June 1 that changed all that.

Although British Columbians still can’t put crinkly wrappers in recycling bags or bins at the curb on pickup day, they can take them to 116 Recycle BC depots throughout the province for recycling.

Allen Langdon, managing director of Recycle BC, said the goal is for all depots in the province to collect this type of packaging by Jan. 1.

Langdon said this type of pilot project isn’t happening anywhere else in North America.

“Each day we move closer toward our ultimate goal of collecting all types of packaging,” he said.

KitKat and other candy bars in a pile.

U.S. company Terracycle can turn plastic packaging into the material used to build playground equipment and park benches. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

If you don’t live in B.C., you can still recycle candy wrappers, but it’s going to cost you.

A U.S. company called Terracycle sells cardboard boxes that people can fill and mail back to the company for recycling.

The boxes cost between $86 US and $231 US, depending on the size.

Terracycle uses equipment to separate the materials in the wrappers.

The plastic is turned into pellets and sold to make things like playground equipment and park benches, said Veronica Rajadnya, a content manager with the company.

She said it’s not an easy task because candy wrappers are so thin and tiny they often slip through cracks in the equipment.

"We kind of work around those limitations,” Rajadnya said, “to make sure all this material doesn't go to landfill and can see a second life."

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