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Last edited 19 May 2021
Wishcycling (wish-cycling or aspirational recycling) describes the unfounded (although often well intentioned) belief that something is recyclable even though it is not. A person who wishcycles often does not know whether or not the item is recyclable, but hopes (or wishes) the item is dealt with in an environmentally responsible manner once it is collected along with other legitimately recyclable materials.
The term wishcycling originated in the waste and recycling industry in the United States. It is believed it was first used in 2015 by a journalist reporting on recycling who had heard an executive from the industry use the term to describe the impact of misdirected recycling activities. Since that time, it has become more widely adopted and is commonly used outside the recycling industry, particularly by the media.
 Problems of wishcycling
Many modern products are made from multiple materials, which is why it can be difficult to be certain what items are recyclable. Considering how an item is made may make it easier to determine whether or not it can be recycled.
 Resolving wishcycling
Learning which items can and cannot be recycled can help put an end to wishcycling.
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