‘Sack’ off wish-cycling - Blog

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Thursday 23rd September 2021

For day 4 of Recycle Week, we’re tackling an under-the-radar concept called wish-cycling. Even if you don’t know what it is, we bet you’ve been doing it.

What is wish-cycling?

Wish-cycling is the optimistic, but slightly misguided concept of putting materials in a recycling bin without knowing whether it is the correct home for them. I’m all for honesty – and must confess that in my previous life, (before working for a recycling company) I have hovered in-front of a recycling bin, contemplating whether the crisp packet, aluminum foil or receipt, should go in. More often than not, I would just pop it straight in without many questions asked. This would make me feel good and that would be the end of it.

HOWEVER, I have since learnt that this misplaced optimism was pretty disruptive to the future journey of my recycling bin contents. Furthermore, my haphazard actions were not helping the environment and was in fact ruining my eco-warrior status.

Want to get clued up about what harm wish-cycling does and how to avoid it? Read our blog all about it here.

What are the most common wish-cycling culprits?

Over the years, Paper Round has seen a lot of contamination. Below, we’ve drawn together a naughty list of top contaminants to watch out for.

1. Tissue and tissue paper
Despite what you think, these items are non-recyclable because they are often contaminated with food, liquid or germs. These need to be placed in your general waste.

2. Glass, coffee cups, food and shredded paper
These items are recyclable, however not in a mixed stream recycling bin. They need to be separated for recycling in specific bins. We offer all these services, which you can enquire about here.

3. Liquid and food
These substances can dramatically affect the recyclability of materials such as paper and cardboard. Make sure to keep these out of recycling streams by washing and drying your items before they are placed within a recycling bin.

    Take our recycling contamination quiz to test your new knowledge

    Can the following items be recycled and if so, what condition and recycling bin should they be placed in? (Answers below so no cheating!)

    1.

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    4.

    Answers

    1. Soft plastics can be recycled with our SustainABLE Box service! The salad needs to be separated and placed in a compost pile or food waste bin. At Paper Round, food is collected and taken to Biogen, where they use anaerobic digestion to convert it into biogas and liquid fertiliser for a useful secondary life. If food isn’t recycled, it can end up in landfill. This produces methane, which is 25 times as potent as C02, therefore is something that should definitely be avoid. 

    2. These food containers are made of polystyrene, which is a type of plastic which cannot be recycled within the plastic stream. This means that this item must go to general waste. For a more environmentally sound option, we would recommend repurposing an old container (for example a glass jar or takeaway box), swapping to a reusable container or transitioning to Vegware Compostables

    3. The magazine and soft plastic film should be separated and sent to different streams to be recycled. The magazine can go in a paper or mixed recycling stream. The soft plastic film, which is conventionally a hard-to-recycle material, can be recycled with our handy SustainABLE Box

    4. Even though these shreddings are paper, they cannot go in a mixed recycling stream. They must be disposed of in a separate recycling stream. This is because during mechanical sorting, shredded paper often gets mixed with contaminants or falls through the filter screens in the machinery, meaning it is unable to be separated and retrieved efficiently. If you do not have access to a separate shredded paper stream, this matter must go in general waste.

    We know that the world of recycling can be a bit confusing at times. We’re here to help you navigate through the intricacies and show you that it is easier than you think! We share lots of resources on our Linkedin and Twitter, so make sure to follow us to stay up to date.

    For our last day of Recycle Week, we are going out with a bang. We will be discussing the procurement opportunity - how the purchasing choices you make as a consumer are just as important as what you put in the bin. See you tomorrow to #StepItUp!

    Hattie Lindsey

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