Are you Wish-cycling?

Wish-cycling is the practice of placing items into recycling bins that cannot be recycled. It stems from the best intentions. You wish or hope that something you’ve bought or use regularly can be recycled. We all like to feel good about our recycling efforts, so much so that perhaps we feel good when our recycling bin is full. But as this video shows, putting cartons and bags in our recycling bins only causes more work for the sorting facilities by tangling their machinery and generating trash.

Common recycling mistakes can cause big problems (

Massachusetts has created a Recycle Smart widget that can help you when you are not sure what to do with an item.

And we can tell you about the items that are filling the wish cycling sculpture on the lawn of the Munroe Center for Arts, located at 1403 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington.

Milk, juice, broth cartons, and frozen food boxes are not recyclable. Such cartons and boxes contain a plastic coating that can’t be separated from the paper base.

Chip and snack bags are not recyclable. Plastic bags tangle the sorting machinery.

Black plastic food containers are not recyclable. Recycling facilities sort plastics by bouncing a beam of light off them. Since black plastic absorbs light, it can’t be sorted so it is sent for disposal.

If you don’t feel great about trashing these items, there are alternatives. Milk, juice and broth can be purchased packaged in other containers. LexZeroWaste is asking more restaurants to participate in our ZeroToGo program that uses reusable take-out containers. As for chips, well you know the alternative already: veggies, nuts and fruit for snacks instead…