What is wishcycling?

What is wishcycling?

It can be tempting to try to recycle as much as possible, and we've all been faced with the situation where you have an item and you're unsure where it goes! You really want it to be recyclable... and think it might be so you toss it in the recycling bin. No harm, right? Wrong, this act is called wishcycling. Wishcycling is the practice of throwing items into the recycling bin that are not actually recyclable, basically, you're wishing they can be! When items are placed in a recycling bin that cannot be recycled, they can contaminate the rest of the recyclables, making everything un-recyclable.

To help reduce wishcycling, it is important to become familiar with your local recycling guidelines and to properly sort items before placing them in the recycling bin.

3 Tips to Prevent Wishcycling

  1. Research before you purchase: One of the best ways to prevent wishcycling is to research items before you purchase them. Check that the item is actually recyclable in your area before you buy it, and if not, find an alternative. You can also look for items made from recycled materials or those that are designed to be recycled easily.
  2. Educate yourself: Learn more about your local recycling policies and procedures. Knowing what can and cannot be recycled will help you make more informed decisions when it comes to your waste. Most cities have local websites that provide up-to-date information on what can be recycled vs. composted vs. what needs to go in the trash.
  3. Clean off food waste: Even items that can be recycled can be contaminated by food waste. Clean the item before recycling or simply throw it out if it can't be cleaned.

When you need to discard an item, take pause. Can it really be recycled? If you are unsure whether something can be recycled, it’s better to err on the side of caution and throw it away in the regular trash and avoid contaminating the larger recycling system!

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