At Bastyr we believe that a healthy planet and a healthy you are interdependent. Did you know that individually packaged candy and irresponsibly sourced ingredients can lead to destruction of ecosystems, scaring even the most devious of night crawlers. Don’t be tricked, or frightened! We can help you put the EEK in eco-friendly this Halloween, with four helpful and easy tips.
1. Shop for recyclable candy wrappers.
Many candy wrappers are made from a mixture of materials that, unlike other plastics, renders the wrappers non-recyclable. Every Halloween season, approximately 600 million pounds of candy is purchased. While this certainly satisfies a ghoulish sweet tooth, the result is not so sweet – millions of candy wrappers in landfills, where they contribute to intoxication of soil, pollution and release of greenhouse gases.1 Luckily, there are companies with environmental consciences utilizing compostable and recyclable materials. Shop for your candy at an eco-friendly grocery store, such as PCC or Whole Foods, that purchases their products from such environmentally-conscious food suppliers.
2. Check the ingredients for palm oil.
The second environmental killer is palm oil. Palm oil is extracted from the oil palm tree which thrives in tropical conditions. What else thrives in these conditions? You guessed it – rainforests, peatlands and 50% of the world’s biolife.2 The high demand for palm oil continues to lead to massive deforestation, killing plants, animals and humans alike. Furthermore, the destruction of forests and peatlands results in incredible releases of carbon into the air, contributing to global warming and loss of biodiversity around the globe.3
3. Choose a candy company that chooses “sustainable” palm oil.
In a strong effort to reduce environmental impacts, some major candy companies – such as Hershey®, Nestle®, and Justin’s® – are moving toward using “sustainable” palm oil. However, large amounts of controversy still abound around what counts as sustainable, including what amount of deforestation and associated carbon emissions should be allowed, and the definition of a “high-value conservation forest.”4 In 2016, Hershey® reported that only 27 percent of its palm oil was traceable back to the plantation level.5 Although these efforts are notable, “sustainable” palm oil is not as sustainable as it sounds. Fortunately, informed consumers can avoid the trick and make sweet choices that are much more eco-friendly.
4. Terracycle your candy wrappers.
Now that you feel empowered to pass out eco-friendly candies this Halloween, what can be done with all the wrappers the little ones bring home? Terracycle, a company dedicated to reducing waste, will accept most candy wrappers (as well as other non-recyclable products), pay for shipping, and donate two cents for each wrapper to a charity of your choice. Happy Halloween!
At Bastyr it is our vision to transform the health and well-being of the human community. As best stated by Bastyr University Founding President, Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND: “To provide patients a real opportunity for health, we must not only help them change how they live, but also transform the world in which they live.” We hope you find at least one of these tips helpful and easy to work into your seasonal routine.
Our nutrition experts at Bastyr Center take a highly personalized approach to diet and health all year round. They can address everything from food allergies to poor digestion and weight management. Whether it’s for you or for your child, consider dropping in for a $20 nutrition visit with our graduate-level nutrition students and a supervising registered dietitians (RD) faculty member.
Authored by Taylor Widener, a Dietetic Intern at Bastyr University practicing whole-food and evidence-based nutrition interventions.
- The problem with landfill. Environment Victoria. https://environmentvictoria.org.au/resource/problem-landfill/. Published June 16, 2013. Accessed October 6, 2017.
- Rainforest Foundation US. http://www.rainforestfoundation.org/commonly-asked-questions-and-facts/. Accessed October 6, 2017.
- What's Driving Deforestation: Palm Oil. Union of Concerned Scientists. http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/stop-deforestation/drivers-of-deforestation-2016-palm-oil#.WdgqX0uGPEZ. Accessed October 6, 2017.
- Block B. Can "Sustainable" Palm Oil Slow Deforestation? Can "Sustainable" Palm Oil Slow Deforestation? | Worldwatch Institute. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6082. Published October 7, 2017. Accessed October 7, 2017.
- Palm Oil Facts. Hershey. https://www.thehersheycompany.com/en_us/responsibility/good-business/creating-goodness/palm-oil-facts.html. Published 2017. Accessed October 7, 2017.