Have you ever tossed something into the recycling bin even if you’re not sure that it’s recyclable? Perhaps an old pizza box because it is made of cardboard after all, or clamshells and other goods. If you have, you may have taken part in “wishcycling.”
Wishcycling is the act of putting a non-recyclable item in the bin because you want it to be recyclable, and it can cause a lot of problems for recycling companies. Food contamination can ruin a whole batch of otherwise good cardboard, and things like plastic bags can snag in shredders meant for hard plastic bottles.
Recycling Made Difficult
Companies don’t make this any easier. The recycling emblem is stamped on every plastic item there is, even if it isn’t recyclable. The icon is simply to tell you what sort of plastic it is, not whether or not it’s possible to recycle it.
Without looking up what is, and is not, recyclable in your area, there’s no way to recycle it properly.
Unsure? Put it in the trash.
No one wants to generate more waste. That’s part of why the zero waste movement is so popular, and why many of us work hard to choose sustainable products. Unfortunately, wishcycling can cause tonnes of plastic or cardboard to be wasted.
If you’re not sure, look it up or put it in the trash. It’s better one item go to landfill than to prevent a lot more materials from getting recycled because of contamination.