The Scary Reality of Halloween Recycling

halloweenIt’s likely you’ve already dug into your stash of chocolate peanut butter pumpkins, Kit Kat bars and M&Ms. As Halloween approaches, so does a scary reality for recycling facilities because of the amount of waste that’s produced and wrongly placed into recycling bins at this time of year. Enter candy wrappers, ghost costumes and more. Here are a few tips (and tricks!) to avoid a curbside nightmare as you’re disposing of Halloween-related waste.

Caution: Don’t Put Candy Wrappers in Your Recycling Bin

It’s a popular misconception that candy wrappers are recyclable. But because candy wrappers are often made from coated paper, which can’t be processed into new paper, they are not recyclable and should be put in your trash bin. Most candy wrappers are small, and a good rule to remember is that anything smaller than a credit card should never be placed in your recycling bin.

Don’t Throw Away Costumes—Reuse Them!

Fabric costumes, plastic props and latex masks cannot be recycled. Keep them for next year or donate them. Get the most use out of your costume by repurposing pieces for other uses. Capes and tutus make great additions to dress-up and costume bins for everyday play time.

Compost Your Jack-o-Lanterns

Pumpkins are a big no-no for recycling bins, but they make great compost. You can dispose of your pumpkins in a compost or organic waste container. Your garden will thank you later when it comes time to plant in the spring. But before you compost, scoop out the seeds inside. Roasted pumpkin seeds make for a tasty and healthy snack!

Donate Halloween Decorations and Lights

Decorative string lights are great for porches and outdoor use, but they shouldn’t go in the recycling bin when Halloween comes to an end. Lights can get tangled in equipment at the recycling facility and can cause chaos. It’s best to dispose of anything with a cord or a battery through a mail-in recycling program or e-waste drop-off. See if you can reuse lights and decorations for next year by storing them away in a safe place.