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Mar 19th 2023 | World Recycling Day

Today is Global Recycling Day and I want to talk to you about Wish-cycling.

Wish-cycling is a constant crusade for so many of us.

For instance, today I ordered a cup of peppermint tea & this is what I got - a plastic looking pouch and plastic tea bag inside… The packaging says “please recycle this pack” but apparently, this is a compostable pack… to my point, how confusing!

It left me wondering “how in the name of the gods am I suppose to dispose of these (tea bag + pouch)?!”

Wish-cycling is when we try to recycle an item even though we’re not sure if such item is actually recyclable.

Wish-cycling can contaminate other recyclables and can cause the entire batch to be discarded as ‘general waste”.

But as always, there are ways to do better when the subject is recycling…

➖Get in touch your waste management company to find out what’s accepted - mind you, rules can vary from company to company so make sure you understand your specific sitch…

➖Make sure all acceptable recyclables are always clean, dry and loose. @mywasteireland is a wonderful resource for tips on recycling!

➖Just because a product features the recycle symbol, it’s not certain that it will be recycled, especially in the case of plastic so back to my first point, if ever in doubt, call the waste collector for your area.

And remember: Recycling can only get us so far to a sustainable future. The rate of our consumption of stuff - past and present - means recycling alone isn’t going to get us out of the waste crisis… going forward, please REFUSE + REDUCE + REUSE always when you can!

FYI: Approximately 8 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 50’s and more than 300 million tons are now made each year. Although recycling has been mainstream for decades, and mechanical recycling works well for rigid plastics such as PET and mono materials, 10% of all plastic ever made has actually been recycled, at best… it begs the question: What happened to the remaining 90%?!

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