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5 Halloween Recycling Horrors to Avoid

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) mission is to implement federal and state regulations to protect human health and the environment while allowing the environmentally sound operations of industrial, agricultural, commercial, and governmental activities vital to a prosperous economy.

IDEM issues air, water, and solid and hazardous waste permits that restrict discharges to environmentally safe levels. Staff members inspect and monitor regulated entities; provide compliance and technical assistance; monitor and assess air, land, and water quality; use enforcement actions as necessary to ensure compliance, and respond to incidents involving spills to soil or waters of the state.

Last October, @IDEMNews noted that though residents have the best intentions, more than 30% of what goes into residential recycling containers today shouldn’t be there.

Here are their notes regarding recycling in October:

Many items handed out to trick-or-treaters or used for decoration during Halloween aren't recyclable, yet they still end up in the recycling container and can cause a nightmare for facilities!

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

Whether whole or carved, pumpkins can be composted or disposed of in your yard waste bin.

Fabric costumes and latex masks can be reused, but not recycled.

Even if makeup containers are made from plastic or metal, they most likely are contaminated by goopy residue. It's better to just throw them away.

String lights can get tangled in the facility's sorting equipment. Choose a mail-in recycling option instead!

Be sure to check in with IDEM for more information on recycling, air quality, land quality, and water quality in Indiana online at

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