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Rubicon’s Inaugural “Trick or Trash” Recycling Campaign Reaches More than 470 Schools in 49 States

As you may have seen across traditional and social media throughout the month of October, Rubicon® implemented a unique Halloween campaign tied back directly to our company mission to end waste.

Research shows that in the United States alone, more than 600 million pounds of candy are purchased each year for Halloween. The vast majority of these candy wrappers end up in landfills due to an inability by most curbside recycling programs to recycle them. Rubicon set out to change this, engaging students and teachers with a circular economy and recycling lesson plan that we created, along with a candy and snack wrappers waste box in which students could recycle their wrappers. The idea was to combine learning with action to help drive change.

Shipping out the boxes in time for Halloween, we started to see the culmination of these efforts as dozens of photos were posted across social media of students using their “Trick or Trash” recycling box to collect their Halloween candy wrappers, as well as stories about our campaign being featured everywhere from Forbes, HuffPost, and even Halloween-themed websites like Haunts, to local radio and television stations across the country. We were thrilled by the energy and engagement that teachers were demonstrating, all in pursuit of helping their students better understand the importance of recycling in their daily lives.

“Trick or Trash” featured on WJMN (CBS) out of Marquette, Michigan

The program, which was originally slated to reach just 10 schools, was taken up by more than 470 schools in 49 states across the country—we’ll get you next year Wyoming! An extremely conservative estimate puts the number of students served by these recycling boxes at more than 10,000 and counting.

Photos courtesy of Mott Elementary School

The program was more than just the “Trick or Trash” recycling box. For each teacher that requested a candy wrapper recycling box, we also sent them a recycling and circular economy lesson plan aimed at elementary and middle school students, which they could then teach in their classrooms.

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Kimble of Lincoln Heights Magnet Elementary School

I want to turn the rest of this blog post over to the teachers. They were the true stars of “Trick or Trash,” and they deserve so much praise for their leadership during this timely campaign. Here are some of their testimonials:

“I chose to participate in Rubicon’s Trick or Trash campaign because our current eighth-grade curriculum is dealing with plastics and the human impact on the environment. This program is a great way to help our students see the real-life impact their choices can make, and make a positive difference in their community.” — Rachel Crane, Teacher, Hiatt Middle School in Des Moines, Iowa

“I signed up for the Trick or Trash program from Rubicon because I know that there is a gross misunderstanding of what can and cannot be recycled. When I read about the candy and snack wrappers, I knew immediately that this was something I could work into my classroom as a service project. This recycling program extends beyond just my fifth-grade classes. I work at a school in which we are trying to become a Leadership Academy. Each grade level has been tasked with finding community service projects. This one was perfect for us! We already recycle plastics and paper, but so many food wrappers get thrown into the trash. This way, we get a win-win!” — Jessica Retzlaff, Lakeland, Florida

“Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, preserving the environment ranks very high in our community’s priorities. The Trick or Trash program from Rubicon fits perfectly with our school’s goal of becoming a K-5 green school. This is a program that kids can lead on an environmental issue in which they play a major role—the trash created by Halloween candy. We are very excited to be a part of this program.” — Mary-Catherine McElroy, Teacher/Librarian, Ogden Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington

To grasp the full scale of the impact of this campaign, take a look at our coverage map:

Schools participating in “Trick or Trash” across the United States


Michael Allegretti is Chief Strategy Officer at Rubicon Global. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.

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