I live in Fairfax County, Virginia (USA). I follow the county government on Twitter. The county recently did a tweet with a creative term for a vexing program … “wishful recycling.” To quote the tweet, “About 30% of material that passes through local recycling sorting facilities is not recyclable — it’s waste placed in the wrong container or acceptable recyclables contaminated by dirty items. Learn how to stop ‘wishful’ recycling: http://bit.ly/2z8L4bo”
I must admit. I’ve seen some interesting stuff in the recycling dumpster at my apartment complex. Using “Wishful recycling” as a non-offensive way to describe the problem I hope gets people to ask the question … “Am I wishful recycling?” Recycling facility workers everywhere will thank you if it does.
Do you know what the five largest “wishful recycling” items are:
- Plastic bags
- Shredded paper
- Tanglers (hoses/hangers/cords)
- Styrofoam containers
- Dirty diapers
I did some research for this post. Wishful recycling causes real issues at recycling centers. Plastic bags and shredded paper does gum up the equipment. Dirty diapers and food containers (with food still in them) contaminate the material that is recyclable. It drives the workers nuts and reduces the income the local jurisdiction can get for recycled material.
Don’t be a wishful recycler! Spend a few minutes learning what is and IS NOT recyclable? Here are a few articles:
- Are You A Wishful Recycler?
- Adjusting to New Recycling Realities; 5 Ways You Can Help Stop “Wishful Recycling”
- A Simple List of What Can and Cannot Be Recycled
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Portal from United States Environmental Protection Agency)
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