Have you ever found yourself engaging in wishcycling? Wishcycling occurs when we toss an item into the recycling bin, hoping it will magically be recycled, even without proper confirmation of its recyclability. While this act may temporarily ease our guilt, it can actually have adverse effects. Wishcycling introduces non-recyclable materials into the collected recyclable materials, leading to contamination and increased costs of the recycling process. In this blog post, we explore the concept of wishcycling, its consequences, and a UEC's participation in one of Terracycle's recycling programs.
The Hazards of Wishcycling:
While wishcycling is driven by good intentions, it can be detrimental to recycling efforts. Non-recyclable items mixed with recyclables can disrupt the sorting process at recycling facilities. This contamination can damage recycling equipment, decrease the quality of recycled materials, and even result in entire batches being rejected. Consequently, wishcycling compromises the effectiveness and efficiency of recycling programs.
Here are 5 easy steps to avoid Wishcycling:
It is important to learn what “accepted” means in recycling. Not all the plastics that are collected can be recycled. There are some hard-to-recycle plastics. Terracycle is one of the organizations that connects consumers to a recycling solution. They offer a wide range of recycling options for some of these hard-to-recycle wastes, often involving the manufacturer to fund or recycle their goods.
The Urban Ecology Center is excited to host the Colgate bin, Drink Pouch bin and “Beauty Bin” in our Terracycle Pilot Program at our Riverside Park branch. As a collection site, we’ll have three bins to collect and recycle select materials that wouldn’t be recyclable in our Milwaukee municipal recycling program (see links and graphic below to know what you can drop off!) While we try as individuals to try and reduce our consumption of single-use items, we want to work together in finding solutions for the best disposal of some materials that we still consume.
This is just a small step towards reducing our impact on the planet and people. We encourage you to learn more about ways to reduce and divert waste. Connect with local organizations like Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, Plastic-free MKE, Wastecap Resource Solutions, and many more (too many to list here) to learn more.
While individual efforts to reduce single-use items are commendable, the collaboration between organizations highlights the importance of collective responsibility. By working together, we can explore innovative ways to tackle wishcycling and promote sustainable waste management practices.
Resources about the Terracycle bins at the UEC:
More resources about recycling in Milwaukee: