When wishcycling met rosy scenario: Recycling goals should be ambitious but also need to be realistic

Read the full story at Waste360.

Wishcycling is the bane of recycling programs. It happens when well-intentioned people put the wrong thing in a recycling bin. Usually, they do this because they hope the item is recyclable.

This wishful thinking creates problems for recycling facilities. Processing equipment doesn’t work on the power of wishes.  Instead, it has to find and reject the misplaced item.  Some wishcycling is harmful.  Plastic bags are a particular problem because of their ability to clog processing machinery.

Unfortunately, legislators and recycling advocates are also guilty of wishcycling. This happens when they endorse policies that sound good on paper but fail to take into account either science or human behavior. I’ve seen more and more of this in the last few years due to the increase in recycling bills at the state and federal levels. 

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