Edible packaging and candy’s dodgy manufacturing process

A close up landscape of colorful candy of many varieties.
Candy is great, but the sweets can come at a cost (/source)

Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu | October 31st, 2018

When Halloween rolls around, people are bound to eat a metric ton of candy.

Unfortunately, most brands of candy are individually wrapped in non-recyclable materials, creating loads of extra trash during the holiday. With other non-biodegradable materials already littering our soil and water in abundance, an extra influx of plastic wrappers just seems like an inevitable side effect.

Many brands of candy have controversial making processes, too. Cocoa, depressingly, is largely manufactured using child labor, especially on farms along the Ivory Coast. Nestle, one of the biggest companies that uses these coast farms, also owns a water bottling company–and its trash makes up a good amount of debris found by the ocean.

Fortunately, even though ethical issues are abound with candy, there are other, smaller companies leaping to make foods that aren’t so problematic. Recyclable packaging has been around for a while, and now, a new type of product is finding its way onto the market: edible packaging.

With plastic being a constant issue, companies like Tinning Straws are finding materials like seaweed to make everything from edible straws to digestible burger wrappers. The Canadian company Candy Cutlery makes edible spoons for customers to use with dessert. Many of these companies, partially because they’re often indie brands themselves, support local and fairly-produced foods and candies.

Being an ethical consumer is hard, especially when the alternative costs so much and is hard to obtain. As we collectively start to think about the impact candy and other foods have on the environment and on lower-income populations, these better alternatives will slowly become more and more widely available.

Until then, stay safe, don’t litter, and–obviously–Happy Halloween!

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