What is wish-cycling?

Bossing your bins

Wish-cycling is when you place something in the recycling bin with the hope that it will be recycled, but you aren't actually sure if it can be recycled or not.

It's tempting to recycle everything in sight. So, it's no surprise that at least one unrecyclable item a week per household accidentally goes into the recycling bin.

Wish-cycling is a big deal because a whole truckload of recycling could be rejected at the recycling facility if it contains items that can't be recycled. It's very expensive for local councils to sort out, negatively affects Surrey's recycling rate and is damaging for the environment.

5 ways that you can avoid wish-cycling

  1. Check what items can be recycled - use the Surrey Environment Partnership recycling search tool or the free Surrey Recycles app to check if an item is recyclable.
  2. Refresh your knowledge of what can and can't be recycled – Play the Surrey Environment Partnership drag and drop waste sorting game to test your knowledge!
  3. Check what needs to be recycled separately- Food and garden waste, small electricals, batteries and textiles recycling are collected separately in most areas of Surrey, they don't go in your recycling bin. Use the Surrey Environment Partnership recycling search tool or free Surrey Recycles app to check.
  4. No food or drink - moisture and grease will ruin cardboard and paper and make it unrecyclable. Empty, rinse and dry food and drink packaging before putting it in your recycling bin.
  5. Place all items loose in your recycling bin – nothing in bags, sacks or bin liners please. Crews need to be able to quickly see the items to check they are recyclable.

And finally, don't forget small changes like swapping to reusables where possible will really help too, as you'll be creating less rubbish for your bins in the first place. All these small steps will create a big effort in reducing waste in Surrey.

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