Halloween, you might think, should be the greenest holiday this side of Arbor Day. Its traditional decorations are heavily berry-based (pumpkins are berries, botanically speaking, and highly compostable), and it celebrates recycling in the form of zombies and Dr. Frankenstein’s monster-making. But one big part of Halloween isn’t eco-friendly.
Most candy wrappers aren’t accepted by municipal recycling programs. But there are specialty recycling firms that handle them. The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center recommends New Jersey-based TerraCycle.
TerraCycle sells waste boxes, which are filled and then shipped back to the company for recycling. Unfortunately, the service is a little pricey — from $43 to $218, depending on the size of the waste box. The Recycling Center suggests joining “with your neighbors to fill up a box to send to Terracycle.”
But collaborating with neighbors isn’t always easy. It can lead to shame-filled discussions about how much candy you stole from your kids’ Halloween haul that will make you want to avoid eye-contact with the neighbors for weeks. Or maybe your neighbors are the sort who hand out little bags of popcorn or nickels to trick-or-treaters, so you generally avoid them at this time of year. Or maybe they’re the sort of neighbors you avoid at all times of the year. Regardless of the reason, Little Village is here to help.
Bring your clean, empty candy wrappers (no melted remains, please) to the Little Village office in downtown Iowa City from Nov. 1-15. We’ll buy the appropriate-sized TerraCycle box and then ship your Halloween detritus to New Jersey for recycling. Our office is located at 623 S Dubuque St, and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As for pumpkins — the official state fruit of New Hampshire — and other berries, they can be put in the organic waste bin for curbside collection.