Wish-Cycling: How Good Intentions can Cause Problems when Recycling

Have you ever found yourself standing in front of the recycling bin, holding an item in your hand, trying to decide if you should recycle it or not? Your good intentions could actually cause problems with recycling.

“Wish-cycling” happens when consumers put an item that is not widely recyclable into a mixed recycling bin and hope that it gets recycled. This can cause a few problems:

  1. Some items such as wire, or plastic bags can jam machines.
  2. Recycling sorting times increase, which will cost the recycling centers more money.
  3. Electronics that are introduced into mixed recycling centers are more likely to end up in a landfill due to the facility’s focus.

The best thing you can do for your local recycling center is make sure the items you are putting in the bin are unified with what your local material recycling facility accepts. Make sure that the containers you recycle are clean so that they do not contaminate other material in the process.

Engaging in “Wish-cycling” hurts the recycling chain, costing facilities time, money, and lowers the chances of completing the hashtagcirculareconomy loop with efforts to hashtagrecycle.

Please check your local recycling program to understand what is recyclable in your city.