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Wish-cycling. Do or Don't?

So in the last article, I mentioned the threat of Wish-cycling. In this article, I will go into more detail of

  1. What is Wish cycling?

  2. Why is Wish cycling a threat?

  3. What can we do to prevent ourselves from falling into Wish cycling?

What is Wish cycling?

Wish-cycling is the process of recycling non-recyclable objects. It originates from the noblest of motives. You hope or want that whatever you purchase or frequently use can be recycled. Instead, despite your best efforts, recycling businesses find up spending more time and money as a result. Even worse, it can affect recycling at a later stage of processing.

The majority of the things that people wish-cycle are things you would expect could be recycled. For example, the ones with the recycling icon, yet can not be recycled because of the way you do or in the area you live.

Why is Wish cycling a threat?

Wish-cycling Creates Extra Waste

Recycling wishes result in contamination when recyclable and non-recyclable materials are combined. Too much contamination during the downcycling process might reduce the value and alternatives for repurposing some materials. Additionally, it can force otherwise useable materials into landfills.

Typically, paper products—including pizza boxes—are mixed with water and turned into a slurry that will be made into new paper products. However, in the case of a greasy pizza box, the oil from the grease sits on top of the slurry, preventing the pulping process and ruining the whole batch.

Wish-cycling Wastes Money

In most cases, a worker removing the item from the wish cycle is the ideal outcome. The plant can resume operations after a brief pause. However, the non-recyclable material also has the potential to permanently (and dearly) harm the equipment.

Wish-cycling Wastes Time

Machines that sort and process recyclables are used to run the vast majority of recycling facilities. However, wish-cycled goods frequently become stuck in the workings of the machinery, resulting in blockages. The plant must then temporarily stop operating until the obstruction can be removed.

General Rules for Recycling

  • Check your local waste district’s rules on recycling.

  • Plastic bottles, tubs, and jars are often recyclable. They do have to be cleaned of stuck-on foods.

  • Plastic wrap, plastic grocery bags, plastic mailers, and bubble wrap/mailing materials are not.

  • Metal cans are recyclable but need to be clean of any stuck-on food.

  • Cardboard can be recycled, but Pizza boxes are often not recycled. Wax-coated boxes you get in frozen foods are often not recyclable.





I started Sustainability House with the goal of offering readers a glimpse into my thoughts and experiences. What started out as weekly posts have evolved into a dynamic site packed with information about various topics that are near and dear to me. Take some time to explore the blog and see for yourself what makes you curious and eager.


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