The Woes of Wish-Cycling

Recycling is an ever changing and dynamic process. This means that sometimes something that you may have always been putting in your curbside recycling bin can become prohibited. It can also mean that something with a recycling symbol or something that ‘seems’ recyclable is actually not recyclable in that way that we may think.

‘Wish-cycling” is a common word for this. We may hold something in our hands and think to ourselves; “this must be recyclable!” So, we put this in our curbside bin, hoping that we can recycle it, hoping that we are making the best decision. In reality, if you are really questioning something, odds are it likely cannot be recycled in your curbside bin. But, there may be other ways you can dispose of it without having to throw it in the trash. Wish-cycling is harmful in many ways. It wastes time, money and can even create more waste!

Time is wasted when the machines stop or are jammed by something that does not belong in them. These machines are designed to process certain items, when something new is added into the mix the machine will not process it properly. Money is wasted because workers need more time to fix machinery. An article by Earth 911 notes that about $250,000 is wasted annually due to wish-cycling. Finally, more waste is created by wish-cycling! When something that is not permitted to be recycled is spotted in a load of clean recyclables, the entire load is them thrown away and considered contaminated.

It can be difficult to know what to do with all of the items in your home, and even harder to have to throw something away when you want so badly for it to be able to be recycled.

If you ever wonder if something can be recycled, or what you can do with it if it isn’t recyclables you can call DPW at 781-665-0142 or check out the Recycle Smart Ma Recyclopedia.