Last edited 19 May 2021




[edit] Introduction

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.

[edit] History

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.

[edit] Problems of wishcycling

Excessive wishcycling can contaminate recycling streams. In some instances, this can result in fines, warning notices or even the discontinuation of recycling initiatives.

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.

In addition, what may be recyclable in one area may not be acceptable in another. Single stream or dual stream recycling policies dictate different sorting practices.

[edit] Resolving wishcycling

Learning which items can and cannot be recycled can help put an end to wishcycling.

The simple act of keeping materials clean (for instance, cleaning off residual substances that contaminate the waste stream) can also be helpful.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

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