For the fourth year in a row, this Halloween candy maker Mars Inc. partnered with recycling company Rubicon Technologies on this "Trick or Trash" initiative. "Request a special Trick or Trash™ bag so you can reduce waste and recycle your Halloween Candy Wrappers," Mars writes.
The idea is that they ship you this bag, for free, that you use for trick-or-treating. Afterwards you deposit all of your candy wrappers in it, and "and drop it off in your nearest USPS box to be properly recycled, we'll take it from here."
"Research shows the vast majority of wrappers from the 600 million pounds of candy purchased in the United States each season ends up in landfills due to limitations in most curbside recycling programs. Mars' collaboration with Rubicon underscores our commitment to contribute to a circular economy where packaging material never becomes waste, but is recycled, reused, or composted and supports the Mars Sustainable in a Generation Plan."
That's all fine and good, but obviously hides a much larger problem. First off, how many people are actually ordering and using these bags? Then there's the larger issue: People eat candy all year round, not just on Halloween. And like most food, it comes packaged in films that will never be recycled. Why? Because most recycling facilities available to your average citizen don't accept packaging waste, and even if they did, our recycling rate is abysmal.
I don't doubt that this is a good bit of PR for Mars, and that the environmentally-minded parents or children that order these bags feel temporarily good about themselves. But this is doing nothing to address the larger problem, which is that companies package their goods in materials that can't or won't be recycled—and we citizens, en masse, are all too happy to buy them. "Trick or Trash" indeed.
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