If you’ve debated whether something is trash or recycling and ultimately tossed it in the recycling bin thinking, ‘surely that’s recyclable’ – you might be a wishcycler. Wish-cycling, a term coined by Bill Keegan, refers to “the practice of tossing questionable items in the recycling bin, hoping they can somehow be recycled.” While it feels like you’re doing the right thing, wishcycling is actually pretty harmful.
Wishcycling costs money, time and resources because every time a rogue item wends its way into the sea of seriously recyclable items, the whole system grinds to a halt. The previously clean batch of recycling items is now contaminated and all of it has to be thrown out anyway. The challenge of contaminated recyclables continues to grow – but you can make a difference!
First step – just like mom used to say, do your homework! Find out what your recycling program accepts and what it doesn’t (it varies by location). If you’re unsure, it’s actually better to put something into the trash than to toss it in the recyclable bin and contaminate the entire load.
Some of the most common items that are wishcycled include contaminated items (items that are wet, covered in food waste, etc.), plastic bags, lightbulbs and batteries. But don’t despair! Lowe’s offers in-store recycling for plastic plant pots, plastic bags, CFL bulbs and rechargeable batteries!
Don’t just throw out the plastic pots! Instead, bring them back to any Lowe’s and the company will recycle them! Just drop them off with any associate and they will put them back to good reuse!
Do you toss your plastic bag full of other plastic bags into the recycling, hoping they can be recycled? What you should do is bring them to your local Lowe’s and toss them into the store’s in-store recycling center. The recycling centers are most often found near the customer service desk.
Dropping CFL bulbs into the recycling can contaminate the recycling load and also injure workers, so it’s especially important to dispose of CFL bulbs properly. Simply collect your CFL bulbs and drop them into the appropriate in-store recycling bin, and Lowe’s will take care to dispose of them properly.
Have you recently purchased a new power tool? Recycle your old removable and rechargeable battery (of any brand) at a Lowe’s in-store recycling bin. Because these batteries can combust, it is critical that you cover the positive terminal on the battery (marked with a + sign) with electrical or duct tape and place in the kiosk. Lowe’s associates are happy to help if you need assistance.