Why The Popular '80s Garbage Can-Dy Was Discontinued

Although plenty of people love to indulge in what may be classified as junk food, no one wants to eat actual garbage. However, one popular candy in the 1980s decided to play on that association a bit. Garbage Can-dy blurred the lines between trash and treat when it was first introduced in the mid-1970s.

The candy was sold in plastic, garbage can-shaped containers. The inner pellets were made of compressed fruit-flavored sugar, similar in consistency to Pez. The sweets were shaped like items typically found in garbage cans: fish bones, old shoes, dog bones, and soda bottles.

However, it seemed there wasn't a large enough market of adults who wanted to eat things shaped like garbage. Although the candies may have been a hit with children, the small demographic they appealed to wasn't enough to keep the brand alive. In 1996, Topps closed its Pennsylvania manufacturing plant, which produced the candy.

The candies were associated with a different product

The candy was introduced at the height of Garbage Pail Kids' popularity. The stickers and trading cards parodied Cabbage Patch Kids, and images on each card depicted children in gross, creepy, or dangerous situations. The Jay Decay card, for example, shows a zombie crawling out of a grave, while Stinky Stan features a baby covered in garbage.

The Garbage Can-dy sweets were created and produced by Topps — the same company that made the Garbage Pail Kids cards. Specifically, both were created by cartoonist and author Art Spiegelman, who worked for the company in the 1980s. Aside from its garbage-themed products, the company also produced Ring Pops, Push Pops, and Bazooka Bubblegum.

Once the candy inside was consumed, the reusable plastic containers could be washed out and repurposed — either for storing smaller trinkets (like those Garbage Pail Kids cards) or for use as a toy garbage can for doll houses.

A similar candy is still on the market today

Although the original candy has been gone for years, it still has a small fanbase online. Some nostalgic Reddit users shared their memories of the sweets in a post on the website. One user kept the garbage cans for their Barbies, and one compared the taste and texture of the candy to Smarties (the American kind, not to be confused with the UK variety), though noted that they were a little bit crunchier.

Although the Topps-branded version was discontinued in 1996, production of the candy has made its way around to a few different brands over the years, including Bazooka and Regal. While it changed hands, its recipe has also varied.

In the United States, you likely won't see the sweets on shelves at any major retailers. The garbage-themed candy may be found in candy stores or purchased online. In Canada, however, the sweets are still carried in Party City stores, as well as through several online retailers.

If you're seeking some more nostalgia, come check out the most popular candies that came out the year you were born.