PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Halloween is just around the corner and while it is one of the most exciting times of the year for kids and adults, there is a dark undertone to the festivities and that’s the huge amount of waste that’s produced.

In fact, more than 12,500 tons of Halloween costumes get sent to landfills every year and overall and more than 30 percent of what goes into residential recycling containers today shouldn’t be there.

Halloween is bound to cause excess waste, and there may be confusion about what to do with all that stuff. That’s why I teamed up with Republic Services, a national leader in waste disposal and recycling, to uncover and better understand the Halloween items that can and can’t be recycled to help reduce the waste that ends up in recycling bins. 

Halloween Items that Can’t Be Recycled 

Candy wrappers: Those candy wrappers may feel like plastic, but they’re considered a mixed material and therefore aren’t recyclable.

Pumpkins: They’re not recyclable, but they don’t necessarily have to go in your trash. Whether whole or carved into jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins can be disposed of in your yard waste bin, if you have one. Pumpkins also may be composted.

Costumes: Fabric costumes and latex masks can be reused, but not recycled. You can always save the costume and repurpose it for the next year, or use as a dress-up costume that kids can play with year-round.

Makeup: Tins and tubes of face paint and fake blood aren’t recyclable. Even if the container is made from plastic or metal, it most likely is contaminated by goopy residue. It’s better just to throw it away.

Spooky lighting: Strings of lights will haunt your local recycling facility by getting tangled in the sorting equipment, so don’t place these items in your recycling bin. 

Halloween Items that Can Be Recycled

Trick-or-Treating: instead of buying a fancy bag for your little ones’ trick-or-treating, use a reusable bag, an ice cream bucket or what they used last year. 

Find other types of goodies to give out: Skip the plastic-wrapped sugary candy altogether and opt for something more interesting and creative to hand out to the kids:  Halloween-themed pencils, notepads, Mad Libs, or coloring books.

Upcycle: Donate Halloween décor and toys. Give these items another life by donating them to a local thrift store for someone else to enjoy. It’s a good way to extend their use and keep them out of the landfill for as long aspossible. 

Recycling Staples:

Plastic bottles 

Soda cans 

Plastic cups (dry)

Clean paper plates 


Jasmine’s lifestyle TIP: Make sure you have a clearly labeled recycling receptacle in place for your Halloween party for guests to use. After your Halloween party, give it a quick check to make sure only the good recyclables such as plastic cups and bottles, soda cans and cardboard are there and that they are empty, clean and dry before they go in your recycling container. We can all be better recyclers, learn more at



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