Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have a sweet tooth and National Candy Month is the perfect excuse for all our cavities. Personally, I didn’t even know there was a specific month to eat candy since we already have multiple days celebrating the sweet treats: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and just those days that have you feeling down. Before we upgraded to Lindt Chocolates and Jolly Ranchers we had hard candy necklaces and Ring Pops, which were the ultimate accessories that made every other kid jealous. It would be an honour to get a piece of the necklace or be proposed to on the playground with the blue raspberry ring. We can even look back on the times when everyone would get a valentine with a little chocolate or lollipop attached to it. But we never thought about what happened to those wrappers or cardboard boxes that we tossed in the trash or onto the side of the road.
While I snack on my favourite chocolate bar, it has me thinking about the waste that we produce on a small and major scale; from candy wrappers to clothing.
How does Candy = Fashion?
You may be wondering what candy and chocolate has to do with fashion? The goals of many sweets companies are similar to those of sustainable and ethical fashion brands. For example, many fashion brands have highlighted their ethical objectives as helping the environment by using non-synthetic fibres, participating in fair-trade practices, and making an effort to positively change the lives of the people who make their products. As for candy and chocolate companies, they strive to use organic ingredients, manufacture, package and sell the product in an eco-friendly way, as well as give the farmers more involvement and credit in the process. As the consumer, we all have to be aware of our actions after we receive the product. We can easily find ourselves distracted in excitement and then ignore an easy step such as recycling correctly; which in a way, reverses all of the hard work that was put into the product. Now, a candy wrapper is such a small peice of garbage in the waste world, that we could understandably question its importance.
The Problem with the Wrapping
Generally the wrapping paper for most candies and chocolate is made from cellophane, wax paper, aluminum foil, and/or different types of plastic which are not easily recyclable if at all. The thing about candy wrappers is that they are too small to be eligible for recycling. Think about how small a Hershey’s Kiss wrapper is when you ball it up tightly. Because of their insignificance in comparison to larger items such as a plastic water bottle, the wrappers are either not recycled at all or they are disposed of incorrectly. Since many of these wrapping products are mixed with many different types of materials, it makes it even more difficult to sort through them.
My thought process is to throw a Smarties cardboard box in the recycling bin and throw a plastic Skittles wrapper into the trash, but some people can become confused about what goes where. The goal of recycling is to first educate people on how putting waste into the wrong places is harmful and then to show them how to do it correctly. While this can be tricky, the truth is that we must try to do everything we can to reduce the waste in our environment.
Luckily, there are actually many candy and chocolate companies that use recyclable or compostable containers for their products. This makes it 100 times easier to know where to put the waste – in the compost!. Below is a list of five companies that produce delicious, eco- and ethically friendly products that you may wish to consider trying.
Most candy wrappers may be small, but do you think size really matters when it comes to saving the environment?
Endangered Species Chocolate
Understandably, this brand calls themselves “The Snack that Gives Back” because of their promise to donate 10% of their profits to their wildlife conservation partners. This comes to about $10,000 minimum annually. Their ingredients are also notable, being non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher. The wrapping is produced with 100% wind energy making it eco-friendly. Along with all of this, it is a fair trade company and the first American made chocolate using cocoa from West Africa.
Alter Eco Foods
One of Alter Eco’s greatest achievements is working directly with the farmers that grow their products. Doing so, they have also been accredited with creating development programs for those communities. Their chocolate is also non-GMO and organic and they are committed to using compostable packaging and funding the planting of trees: 28,639 since 2008.
This chocolate was created mainly for helping non-profit organizations raise money, and their creative label design communicates a sense of community and love through the product. It is non-GMO, organic, and gluten-free and packaged with recyclable cardboard material made from 100% wind energy. Not only are they eco-friendly, Evolla is also fair trade certified.
Glee Gum is the first Fair Trade gum company in the world and while being ethically friendly, it is also very healthy. Each flavour is non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian, and made without preservatives or anything artificial. As an added bonus, they use natural chicle (a non-synthetic base), which helps sustain rain forests. To top it off, Glee Gum is involved in tree planting initiatives and is packaged with recyclable material.
This company strives to be the greenest it can possibly be. Their products are manufactured, packaged, and shipped green. It all begins by using 100% renewable energy, followed by wrapping the chocolates in 100% recycled cardboard, and then using vegetable or soy inks for printing. The cherry on top is that their shipping boxes are made the exact same way.
Do you know of any other environmentally friendly candy or chocolate companies? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author
Kendra is currently studying English and Professional Writing at York University. She enjoys playing soccer, reading and writing short stories and articles in her spare time. She has written her own short novel and in the future hopes to become a professional writer and use her creativity with words in new and fresh ways.