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What is "Wish-Cycling?"

What is "Wish-Cycling?"

You may think you are doing the right thing by putting something in the recycling bin that you're not totally sure can be recycled but you're "wishful" that it can. This is called "Wish-Cycling."

Not knowing the proper way to recycle can ruin your efforts by contaminating the entire recycling batch and costs recycling facilities hundreds of thousands of dollars according to the EPA.


  • Pizza Boxes - 3 billion pizza boxes are thrown away every year that should be recycle. But the devil is in the details… A little bit of grease is ok but heavily soiled spots and excess cheese gum up the machine workings. Big greasy area should be ripped off and thrown in the regular household    Get rid of the food, get rid of the places where the cheese is sticking and then you can recycle the rest of the pizza box
  • Food Containers - Cans and containers should be cleaned out and rinsed. Then they are properly recycled or better yet, repurpose it!
  • Bagging Your Recycling - Plastic cannot be recycled because of the film on the plastics gumming up the machinery so it is thrown in the landfill. There are some stores that carry special bags that say recycling on them. You can only use those to recycle, or better yet, bring your own cloth shopping bags! If you've forgotten your cloth bags, the EPA says that paper bags are a final alternative as long as you recycle them properly.
  • The Credit Card Method - Anything smaller than the size of a credit card cannot be recycled properly. Some examples are: bread tab, soda can tops and packing peanuts. Again, they can get stuck in the machinery at the recycling facility.
  • Plastic Cutlery - Knives, forks, spoons and plastic straws are too lightweight to recycle. Even if a few of these items are in your recycling container, it ruins your whole batch and they are tossed in the landfill...ouch!
  • Random Things that Cannot Be Recycled - Clothing, Diapers, Batteries, Packing Peanuts, Garden Hoses
  • Recycling Rules in your Community - Some communities will pay you to recycle now. Local rules can differ depending on your location.

When in doubt, throw it out!


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