No Waste is Good, But Why Does Throwing Away Candy Feel So Difficult?

November 01, 2019 2 min read

4 Comments


I've taken a Halloween approach (thus far) that is almost entirely of a free-for-all. As in: Go trick-or-treating, have fun, eat candy, keep it in your room, go wild... and usually by two weeks in, it's all gone, forgotten, or lost its lustre. This week, though, our three kids brought over 1200 candies & chips back into our house (!!!). It was, to understate things... a bit much.


When you find yourself with an abundance of junk food, the idea of throwing it away feels inconceivable (at least for me). Maybe it is that candy is non-perishable, and there is a sense that throwing something edible in the garbage is abhorrently wasteful?


But, the truth is: we waste things all the time! Pumpkins, grown like any other edible crop, are mostly thrown away after October 31, uneaten. I lose track of produce sometimes and a mouldy eggplant or slimy half-full bag of spinach goes right into the bin (or compost).

With all due respect to the corn (syrup) farmers & candy manufacturers, why do I feel more uncomfortable throwing away a bowl full of mini Mars bars than I do when I rinse a tub of best-intentioned yogurt down the drain?




It reminds me of an anecdote that Chris Guillebeau recounts of locking his keys in his car right before an event at which he was speaking. The locksmith spent less than 5 minutes unlocking the car, and charged him $75. Chris found himself thinking that his instinct was to want the process to take longer, to feel like the cost was a better value! Though, of course, it was actually to his advantage — more valuable — that the locksmith was speedy in his work.

I find myself thinking that I don't want the candy to "go to waste"... I want a good use for it. But isn't it actually more unhelpful to my goals (for myself & my family) of physical health, steady emotions,and restful sleep, if I make sure it is eaten & enjoyed, just so it doesn't "go to waste"?



This year, I unabashedly threw away the gross-looking & weird candies. Then, I paid cash money to my kids to trade me 100 pieces each of their loot. It's now sitting in a bag in my office, and I feel conflicted about what to do next.

No waste is good, and the best scenario would be if I wasn't in this place of excess in the first place! But BE THAT AS IT MAY, here I am and there it is.

Yes, I can give it to different places and charities etc. but is more candy the answer for them, anyway? I feel like candy is everywhere and barely a treat anymore. Is anyone suffering by my wastefulness, or is it actually all gain?

 
Update: A local friend told me that there is an organization that collects candy for kids that are stuck in the hospital for their birthdays and other holidays (as part of a treat bag). I'm still not convinced that more candy is the answer, but I think that of anyone, I can trust pediatric healthcare professionals to make good choices about candy distribution! For now, this seems like a good option. 👋bag of 300 "fun" bars!


4 Responses

Colleen
Colleen

November 23, 2019

There are many legitimate uses for quick sugar uptake….whether it’s diabetics, athletes, or hungry, cold people living on the street. Halloween is definitely a skippable occasion for several reasons IMO and wasting resources is never a great idea. What about all the outgrown and totally impractical reuse of the elaborate expensive costumes? Where does one draw the line about waste that is trendy and cool and in our mind legit and other waste that offends our sensibilities due to our own bias. Always good to be thinking and open to change without judgment for the choices that others make. There is always context.

jodi
jodi

November 02, 2019

when my kids were little we sent the bulk of the candy to deployed soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lisa Meier
Lisa Meier

November 02, 2019

We really have tread the Halloween thing carefully because of exactly this! All that candy benefits NOBODY- even hubs taking a bunch into work… (so all the guys in their desk jobs can eat more calories? Nope.) We mostly limit the input by going to a local bonfire or something, where they get a small bag and then go to a few more houses. Saving some for hikes etc has also spread the distribution. But ugh, I do not like it at all! The packaging alone sends me spinning (though I’ve heard London Drugs is doing wrapper recycling this year), let alone all the questionable ethics along the production line, all for the extreme excess of something that has negligible nutritional value. What else to do but TOSS IT AWAY (there are zero benefits to keeping it!)- even better, unwrap, recycle and then toss the sugar/chemical ball. (and then have a good think about how to limit it in the first place- or change the world’s view on this weird “holiday”- that’s what I’d like to see and you’ve got a decent platform! haha)

Wendy Woods
Wendy Woods

November 02, 2019

Contact the food bank and see if they take unopened candy.

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