Do you recycle with complete certainty that the item you are tossing in the bin is recyclable? Even if you make it easy for yourself by using custom signs made with the Signmaker tool, or keeping the Know What to Throw Guide for reference, you will still want to be sure to keep an eye out for wish cycling. Get a refresher on the recycling basics and make sure that items in your bin can be recycled properly.
There are lots of items that cause trouble for processing facilities. Most of the time, folks think the item is, or should be recyclable even though they aren’t sure. This conundrum is known as wish cycling. Make sure you aren’t placing items in your bin that don’t belong there. Some of these items can be recycled in other ways. Things like plastic bags, batteries, and sharps can’t go in, but can be recycled at drop-off locations.
Recycling helps the economy, creates jobs, conserves natural resources, and helps the environment. Every individual plays an important role when it comes to recycling more, and every little bit helps. By keeping trouble items out of the bin, you are helping to ensure a smooth process and increasing the value of the recyclables that are being sorted at facilities. Contaminants can damage machinery or make it so other recyclables can’t be processed and end up in a landfill.
Being vigilant about wish cycling will greatly help the recycling process. Be sure to use all three Rs when it comes to dealing with items in your home.
Reducing – Limit the number of non-recyclable items you end up with.
- Use a reusable bag instead of plastic shopping bags and use washable cloth rags instead of paper towels to keep both items out of the bin.
- Buy food in a green way by taking steps to eliminate food waste and avoid packaging waste by buying in bulk.
- Buy recycled! Close the recycling loop by seeking out products made with recycled materials.
- Avoid unnecessary paper by going paperless with online statements and use a community shredding service to avoid shredded paper in your curbside bin.
Reusing – Items can be given another life by donating, repairing and sharing.
- The first phase of reuse is making sure the items you purchase are durable so they will last longer.
- Fix and maintain your items when possible.
- Keep items like clothing, dishes, ceramics, and drinking glasses out of recycling bins and the garbage by donating them.
Recycling – Think beyond the recycling bin with other ways to recycle including facilities and drop-off locations.
- Bring oil and other automobile fluids to a county household hazardous waste drop-off site.
- Keep items that could tangle in machinery like cords and cables out of facilities by finding drop-off options.
- Watch out for wish cycling with the basics like glass or paper and cardboard. Glass bottles are recyclable; drinking glasses aren’t. Envelopes with plastic windows are recyclable; envelopes with bubble wrap aren’t.
- Have you ever noticed the number on the bottom of a plastic container? Most types of plastics are recyclable. The number helps identify the type of plastic that the container is made from, not whether or not it can be recycled.
- Make sure the products you purchase are recyclable.
Your efforts make a huge impact on the overall recycling community. Trying to recycle anything you can with the proper method is a great help. Be sure to ask the question of “what’s recyclable?” when making everyday decisions. If you have any doubts, be sure to ask your hauler, city or county for clarification so you can be sure that you're not wish cycling.