What is wishcycling and why shouldn’t I do it?

Wishcycling (verb) Putting non-recyclable items in the recycling bin with the hope that they will be recycled.

No, you won’t find this as an official word in Merriam-Webster just yet, but the term has gained popularity as a common problem. So what’s the big deal? We all want to do the right thing and recycle as much as possible. Wouldn’t you rather put things in the recycle bin than in the trash?

Well, the problem arises if your wish does not come true. When items that are not recyclable are placed in the recycle bin, not only do those specific items not get recycled but they contaminate the whole load. Contamination is a major problem. It costs recyclers time and money and often degrades the quality of the commodities that are recyclable. As a result, waste haulers have cracked down and will charge their commercial customers (including the University of Rochester) for contaminated material.

“Are coffee cups ok?” Nope, they are not recyclable.

“What if I cannot empty the juice bottle out of my bottle first and I toss it in the bin?” Nope, you are contaminating the load.

“My plastic utensils can go in there right? They are plastic after all.” Nope on a rope. Only four shapes of plastics are recyclable in our county; bottles, jugs, jars and tubs.

So in sum, please be mindful and know what is and is not recyclable.

For more information on how to recycle correctly at the University of Rochester, please visit https://rochester.edu/sustainability/recycling/ 

Signage to deter people from wishcycling is available here (see one example below).

Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!! Yes, it’s actually better to that than to wishcycle.

Top Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay