Are candy wrappers biodegradable? (3 ways to dispose of candy wrappers)

The article will explain the biodegradability of candy wrappers while also shedding some light on:

  • Can you recycle candy wrappers?
  • Can you compost candy wrappers?
  • Are candy wrappers safe?
  • What are the best ways to dispose of candy wrappers?

Are candy wrappers biodegradable?

Candy wrappers can not be given the status of being biodegradable because candy wrappers are made from non-biodegradable materials such as plastics and aluminium. Both these materials are not sourced from natural sources and therefore, their decomposition by the microbes is not possible. 

Biodegradation only happens when a material is natural and organic so that it can be eaten by the microbes so that the remainder can become a part of nature again. This ensures that there is no waste accumulation. 

However, in the case of candy wrappers, the materials in stock offer no naturality or organic content and therefore will not be degraded by the action of microbes. 

It must be mentioned that the candy wrappers will degrade, however, not by the action of microbes but by the action of external conditions such as sunlight, wind, temperature et cetera. It is estimated that the degradation (not biodegradation) may require about two to three decades. 

Can you recycle candy wrappers?

It is normally thought that when something is not biodegradable, the next best thing that could be done with it is recycling. Recycling is a green option because it ensures that the product is not put in the waste pile but instead it is reused for elongated use. 

However, there is some bad news here. Candy wrappers can not be recycled, or in other words, it is not feasible to recycle candy wrappers. 

The primary reason for this is that candy wrappers are made from a mix of materials including metals and plastics. If it were for single materials, there would be no problem but since candy wrappers are made from a mix of materials, the recycling process will get energy consumptive (for the segregation of raw materials) and this would kill the very essence of recycling. 

The process of recycling is feasible for cases such as plastic bottles or aluminium cans but when plastic and aluminium are mixed together, it is not possible to recycle them together as the recycling process varies based on the foundational material. 

Is there any chance?

However, this is not all. There is a possibility that candy wrappers may be recycled through ventures such as Terracycle that specialise in the recycling process. 

For this, you need to find the nearest centres or recycling cans. Online websites can aid you in this process. Simply look up the recycling centre locator on the Terracycle website and see if there are any nearby centres’ recycling bins. If yes, then voila!

Can you compost candy wrappers?

Many people stumble upon the idea of putting candy wrappers in the compost pile. However, this is not possible as only those materials can be composted that are naturally derived and have organic content inside. 

As for the case of candy wrappers, the said material is made from a mixture of plastic and aluminium and therefore, it is not possible to compost candy wrappers. 

If done so, there will be harmful and degradative effects on the soil because compost is usually used as a natural fertiliser to improve the quality and organic content of the soil. 

Are candy wrappers safe to be used?

Yes, candy wrappers are safe to be used as long as these wrappers are not licked or eaten. In many cases, small children make the mistake of licking or eating candy wrappers as well and this is bad for their health. 

The reason is that candy wrappers are made from non-biodegradable materials that contain plastics and aluminium. Furthermore, the use of substances such as colourants, dyes et cetera. 

Therefore, it is important to make sure that children are educated and taught not to consume or lick candy wrappers to avoid unwanted scenarios. 

What is the best way to dispose of candy wrappers?

Repurpose them 

One of the best ways to dispose of candy wrappers is to actually not discard them but repurpose them in creative ways so that there is less waste generation. 

Candy wrappers can be reused and repurposed for a number of projects and DIY endeavours because of their shiny texture and vibrant colours. 

When candy wrappers are reused and repurposed, it is ensured that the candy wrappers are properly used and utilised before their disposal is sought. Let us explore some examples through which candy wrappers can be utilised. These include:

  • Purses
  • Bracelets
  • Hair Bands
  • Ornaments
  • Gift boxes
  • Decoration pieces 

Owing to the shiny and attractive appearance of candy wrappers, it is advisable to not simply throw away the candy wrappers and prefer the alternatives mentioned above. The candy wrappers can be rightly and adequately utilised and used for the said projects as decoration material to improve the overall quality and aesthetics of these materials.

Recycle them

Although the recycling of candy wrappers is very limited and will only be offered in a limited number of places, the facility is offered in your area. It is the next best thing to do. 

The reason why the recycling of candy wrappers is limited to certain places is that candy wrappers come in a mixture of aluminium and plastics which is hard, and energy-intensive to segregate.  

Put it in normal trash cans 

If the above options are exhausted, then the only thing you can do is dispose of them in regular trash cans. You need to be careful about not throwing them openly in water bodies or in the soil as this can lead to degradative effects on the environment. 

When candy wrappers are disposed of properly, they are kept in landfills. While this may degrade the land and groundwater nearby, it is the least good thing you can do because throwing them away openly on the soil or on water bodies would be much worse. 

Conclusion 

It is concluded that candy wrappers are not biodegradable. They can not be degraded by the action of microbes as they are not natural and do not contain organic content. 

However, candy wrappers may degrade (just like plastics become microplastics) under the influence of external conditions. This process, however, may require two to three decades. 

It is not possible to compost candy wrappers. However, you can opt for repurposing it such as decoration pieces or decorating ornaments. The recycling of candy wrappers is also very limited and will only be offered in selected areas where there is a specialised centre such as Terracycle. 

References

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