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Wishful Recycling? Stop It, You're Recycling Wrong


Have you ever thrown something into the recycling bin just hoping it is recyclable? This form of “wishful recycling” might actually do more harm than good.  Recycling rules differ in every state and in a lot of different cities, which makes it difficult to know if you are recycling right or if you are just plain doing it wrong. You might think that throwing in a “maybe” item can’t hurt, but unfortunately, it does. If recycling is “contaminated” a whole batch might get relegated to the landfill.  So don’t do wishful recycling. Here are some items that we often try to recycle, but that just end of contaminating good batches of recyclable goods:

1. Disposable coffee cups – these might seem recyclable, and we use so many of them that many of us wish they were, but they are not. Many single-use cups are lined with a thin film of polyethylene, which makes them water-proof, but also trash. And not recyclable.

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2. Oily pizza boxes – these are found incredibly often because they are mostly cardboard, BUT oil cannot be separated out, which makes oily boxes un-recyclable. So compost that oily part and recycle the rest!

3. Yogurt cups – these are just some of the many types of un-recyclable plastics (like butter tubs and vegetable oil bottles). China stopped accepting this type of plastic so now there is no one to give it to.

4. Oily take-out containers – these ARE recyclable, but only if you wash them out first! They can’t have any food on them at all, but it is worth spending the time washing them out if they can be turned into usable goods later.


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5. Plastic bags – honestly by now everyone should know that plastic bags are literal garbage, like they can’t be turned into anything else and they ruin the environment. Stop using them and definitely stop trying to recycle them. It isn’t going to work.

6. Dirty diapers – people apparently do this, which makes those people garbage-people. We should just ship those people to the landfill where they will learn that that is where dirty diapers actually need to go.

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