I wasn’t thinking about my plastic diet, when I walked into the store and bought a chocolate bar yesterday. Obviously eating chocolate is not the healthiest thing to do for your body, but today I learned that the packaging material of chocolate bars is also not the best for the environment. It’s tricky because it is difficult to determine what materials were used in the production of the chocolate and candy wrappers.
Similar to milk and juice cartons or potato chip bags, the candy wrappers are generally laminated foils which are prepared by coating a paper base with wax, bonding a thin metal foil layer with an adhesive and dampening with a plastic solution. Because it is a mixed material, it is almost impossible to sort and recycle for producing other products.
The governments and waste management centers don’t recycle candy wrappers due to small scale volume and increased effort in the recycling process. Some enthusiastic handcrafters, such as TerraCycle, recycle the used foils and wrappers into handbags, purses and other accessories. The company found an innovative way to collect those waste items directly from the consumers. They create brigades who collect and send those materials to the company in exchange for nominal payment for each item received.
I am not sure whether I can be a successful brigade member. Therefore, I will simply cut my chocolate-bar consumption in the following weeks to keep away from the plastic-aluminum waste. But here is a question, why don’t packaging companies produce sustainable and environmentally friendly candy wrappers?
It’s hard to tell what portion of candy wrappers are recycled globally by handcrafters or companies. Though, the video below makes a nice comparison between the recycled and non recycled plastic bottles’ rate of consumption in the US.