Sometimes our good intentions do more harm than good…
Too often people put items into their recycling cart, thinking, “No problem. If they’re not recyclable, they’ll just get sorted out.” This well-intentioned but harmful practice is called “wish-cycling.”
Why it’s Such a Problem
- Economic Viability: Sorting out trash slows recycling operations, which costs more money, as does disposing of that trash.
- Burden on Workers: Working on a sorting line is hard enough without pulling off trash, handling dirty items, and untangling plastic bags from the equipment. Recycling right supports the workers who handle our material.
- Environmental Impact: Non-recyclables can ruin otherwise recyclable items, and including trash with our recycling results in additional environmentally-costly trips to the landfill.
The bottom line: Just because we want something to be recyclable doesn’t mean it is. When in doubt, throw it out.
The Following Common Contaminants Should Not Go in Your Curbside Cart:
So what does go in? Get the curbside guide here.
This guide was created by the Waste Prevention Action Team of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition in summer 2020, with sponsorship from Republic Services of Corvallis. For more guides and info about the Recycling Block Captain program, please visit our program page.