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Blog Post: Wish-cycling

Recycle, Don’t “Wish-cycle”

Having single-sort recycling at work can make it super easy to recycle. You toss your recyclable items into one bin and they magically get separated once they get to the recycling facility. What could be simpler? Bottles, cans, boxes and paper get dumped together, so why not toss anything and everything that might possibly be recyclable into that bin? Surely if the recycling facility can separate the plastic bottles from the aluminum cans from last week’s newspaper, they can figure out whether or not that questionable item you just tossed in the bin can be recycled, right?

Unfortunately, no.

Recycling may have gotten easier for those of us on this side of the blue bin, but for the people who work at the recycling facility, it’s a little more complicated, even when we do our best to recycle the right things. Recyclables are not separated by magic, but by machines and people. Everything moves very fast, and the people don’t have the time to evaluate every item that comes into the facility. When you toss something into the recycling that doesn’t belong there, it can jam up the machinery, contaminate the load, and turn what would have been recyclable materials into trash.

Wish-cycling can turn recycling into trash.

Machines and people can do a pretty good job of separating glass jars from plastic bottles from flattened cardboard, but a broken Barbie, a deflated playground ball, or a piece of window glass could spoil it all. Although we all want to recycle as much as we can, the best rule of thumb is “when in doubt, throw it out!” If you’re not sure if an item is recyclable, but you think it should be, a quick call to your trash hauler is all it takes. You can learn more about wish-cycling (and how to avoid it) at Rethink Recycling.

If your business wants to learn ways to recycle better, contact us. It’s what we do, and it’s free for you!

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