How to Reduce Sweet Wrapper Waste
Halloween is approaching. The looming accumulation of sweet wrapper waste is giving you a bigger fright than the horror movies on TV. You’re not sure whether to succumb to supermarket wrappers or stay indoors with the lights off and pretend no one is home.
Well, the time for fear is over. Whether you’re taking your children out trick-or-treating or staying at home and waiting for the doorbell to ring, there are plenty of ways to prevent sweet wrappers from ending up in your general waste bin.
Staying at Home
Look for sweets that already come in easily recyclable/compostable wrappers. A good choice would be cardboard, as long as the cardboard is not wrapped in plastic and doesn’t have a non-recyclable waxed or plastic coating.
It is important to keep in mind that the ‘not currently recycled’ symbol means that only 20% of councils recycle these materials, but they are still being recycled in some areas. Check with your local council and make sure they are recycling the materials in your sweet wrappers before you commit to buying them.
Make Your Own Treats
Making your own treats might seem daunting, but it is a great way to stop plastic from leaving your house. This is because it allows you to control the wrapping materials you use. For example, you can source paper wrapping, beeswax wraps and other biodegradable alternatives to plastic from most local sustainable shops or find them online.
Home made treats are usually healthier than shop bought products as they aren’t packed with preservatives. Some easy to make treats include toffee apples, fudge, or brownie popsicles. These will also be fairly easy to wrap.
Additionally, baking your treats can create a great opportunity to get your children involved and start a conversation about plastic waste.
It is important to note that when making home treats, you should avoid common allergens such as nuts. Add a personal touch by creating ingredient cards so that trick-or-treaters are able to check whether your treats are safe for them.
It is also important to consider that some parents may be hesitant about accepting homemade treats for safety reasons, so do be prepared for a few dismissals.
Offer Non-Edible Options
Consider giving out treats that aren’t edible. This might not make you the most popular home amongst the children, but parents may thank you for reducing their child’s sugar high.
Inedible treats could include bamboo pencils and colouring sets, book vouchers or seed packets (in recyclable packaging, of course!) Anything to keep the little’uns occupied and engaged will be much appreciated.
Alternatively, if you are handy with a knitting needle or needle felting, you might consider making little pumpkins, skulls, or spiders to give away instead of sweets. This is another great opportunity to get the children involved.
It will probably be impossible to avoid bringing plastic sweet wrappers into the house if you are going trick-or-treating. But there are plenty of ways to avoid putting them straight into your general waste bin.
Papier-mâché offers a whole range of activities that allow you to use sweet wrappers in the process. For example, you could decorate old photo frames or buy new frames and other objects from craft shops such as Décopatch or Kraft. It could also be fun to upcycle your children’s furniture using Papier-mâché techniques.
Scrapbooking is another great way to reuse sweet wrappers. If you are already making a scrap book, then using the wrappers on a page dedicated to Halloween could make it more festive. If you are not already scrapbooking, then this could be the perfect opportunity to start.
With plenty of national holidays approaching after Halloween, there are many ways to turn your collected stash of wrappers into decorations.
For example, with Bonfire Night occurring only five days after the conclusion of Halloween, you might consider making sweet wrapper lanterns. The frame can be constructed of paper, with sweet wrappers glued on. Lanterns can also be made by wrapping sweet wrappers around old mason jars or ramekins to hold tealights. Always make sure wrappers are out of reach of open flames.
With Christmas coming, there are plenty of opportunities to release your crafty side. This includes turning sweet wrappers into cards. Use the more colourful wrappers to create fairy dresses that jump from the card or scrunch them up to make lights on a Christmas tree.
Alternatively, sweet wrappers can be used to decorate your own baubles. This is another fantastic opportunity to get your kids around the table doing something creative.
These are only a few ways to keep your plastic footprint lowered this Halloween. Hopefully this has given you some inspiration on how to be proactive in your approach to trick-or-treating.