What is Wishcycling?

Sep 1, 2022

Last Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Wishcycling is the process of placing waste into the recycling bin when you wish it could be recycled but actually don't know if it can. You cross your fingers and hope for the best thinking “well it is better than throwing it out!” It also includes putting things in the recycling bin you know cannot be recycled but you just feel bad about throwing it in the trash where it belongs!

Do not “anyhow recycle” - Why Wishcycling is Bad

When something which cannot be recycled gets put in the recycling bin, it makes sorting and recycling all the rest of the recyclables much more time consuming and expensive. This in turn leads to lower recycling rates. Wishcycling does not improve recycling rates: it makes them worse!

  1. It contaminates the recycling process
  2. It decreases the quality of recycled products
  3. It can damage machinery
  4. It makes recycling more expensive

So how?

What does this mean for you as a responsible recycler? Simple: do NOT engage in this kind of “aspirational” recycling ie when you anyhow throw something into the bin and hope for the best. 

Your intentions may be good but the outcome is bad. 

Of course you should try learn what can and cannot be recycled… like by looking it up in! 

But most important, if you are not sure something can be recycled, it is better to throw it in the general waste than in the recycling bin.



Want to keep up with Singapore's Zero-Waste happenings?

Sign up for Recyclopedia News here. Get the latest info on new donation drives, recycling initiatives, zero-waste news, and the occasional life-hack for living lighter. No spam. You can unsubscribe any time. See a past issue here.