Wish Cycling is the practice of tossing questionable items in the recycling bin, hoping they can be recycled. We all contribute to this problem, whether knowing it or not. Of course, recycling is important, and all recyclable material should be recycled. However, this new concept of “Wish Cycling” points to a larger problem with communication around the recycling process.
This problem often falls on the consumer to fix, rather than the corporations who make these non-recyclable products. Major corporations are directly contributing to our climate change problem, with very little to no consequences. While the recycling icon is federally mandated on all recyclable products, there is no regulation beyond that. For corporations like Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, it is cheaper to produce new plastic material than it is to actually use recycled material. Of all plastic in circulation today, only 9% of it is recycled. The other 91% end up in landfills, or in closed circle loops, where it is recycled, but then is turned into a material that cannot be recycled. The only way this is possible is because there is no accountability set in place for these major corporations. Consumers need to understand their monetary value, and stop buying their trash.