6 Items to Avoid Wishcycling

If you’re not sure if an item is or isn’t recyclable, don’t “wishcycle”. Wishcycling is placing a questionable recyclable item into the recycling bin that can end up contaminating your recycling stream and causing other recyclable items to be dumped in a landfill. 

Here are 6 items that are commonly wishcycled:

1. Loose Plastic Bags 

Plastic bags can jam up the machinery at the recycling facility — keep these out of the recycling bin, and place in garbage only.

2. Greasy Pizza Boxes

While pizza boxes are made of cardboard (which is usually recyclable), if it has any grease or marinara stains, unfortunately, it is contaminated and no longer able to be recycled. Throw any paper or cardboard materials that are soiled with water, grease, or food into the garbage bin. Read this pizza box cheat sheet on what you can or cannot recycle!

3. Bottles with Liquid Still Inside 

Plastic or glass bottles that are normally able to be recycled cannot go in the recycling bin if they still have liquid contents inside. Keep in mind that liquids can contaminate the items in your recycling bin and make them unrecyclable.

4. Styrofoam 

Polystyrene foam, also known as styrofoam, is not able to be thrown into your recycling bin — place in your garbage bin.

5. Certain Types of Glass

Glass bottles and jars are recyclable. However, other types of glass, for example, pyrex, glassware, and wine and drinking glasses, have a different composition that do not allow them to be tossed in your recycling bin. Keep in mind that broken glass is also not accepted in your recycling bin.

6. Loose Shredded Paper

Keep in mind that although a material, like paper, may be recyclable — it must be able to be captured and processed by machinery at the recycling facility in order to be recycled.  Loose shredded paper can get caught up between the machinery and cause problems.

To avoid such issues, place shredded paper in a clear plastic bag in the recyling bin. This will allow the shredded paper to be seen in a clear plastic bag and picked off the line when going through the recycling facility.

Recycle right! If you’re ever unsure, check your handy recycling guide for more information.