Action: Don’t be a wishcycler

An article on BBC News reminds us of the need to take care when recycling at home

Have you heard about “wishcycling”?

Wishcycling is where someone is very well-intentioned about recycling but puts stuff into the recycling system in the hope or the unfounded belief that it is recyclable, even though it’s not.

The BBC article highlights the problems this causes. Today’s action is to look at the article and think carefully about the items you put into the waste recycling system. Good but ill-informed intentions do more harm than good.

Click here for BBC article

The article discusses a number of commonly wishcycled articles and gives some good advice on how to better manage your recyclable waste.

Why is this important?

Wishcycling can contaminate whole batches of recycling and/or lower the quality of the recycled material.

We produce millions of tons of waste each year and most of it ends up in landfill or incinerators, both of which bring a whole host of problems, including the release of large amounts of greenhouse gas. We need to get our waste under controls and recycling is a key part of how we can do that.

In turn, recycling only works if the materials going into the system are good quality. Items need to be sorted, clean, and in the case of plastics in particular, of the right type. Recycling plants vary in terms of what they can cope with, but all will operate more effectively if the materials going in are the right ones.

According to a WRAP survey, in the UK we are now very much a nation of recyclers with nine out of 10 people recycling, saving 18 million tonnes of CO2 every year. This is the same as taking 12 million cars off the road and is brilliant, but we need to be doing it better and every country needs to be improving recycling rates.

Take action

Read the BBC article and make sure that you are recycling only what can be recycled, and that you are taking care to clean and sort materials in line with your local requirements. This is a classic example of where collective action can make a real difference, and it costs us nothing to help in this way.

If you haven’t done so already, please sign up to our bulletin “Take Action” using the form below, and thank you for your support.

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