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Ross: It is the end of ‘wish cycling’ in America

Wish cycling is when you take that piece of dirty plastic that you just ate your lunch out of, and without looking at what kind of plastic it is, drop it in the recycle bin and cross your fingers it doesn’t end up in a landfill.

Everybody does it. Because between the books you haven’t finished, the thank-you notes you never wrote, and the Halloween candy you stole from your kids and ate – the human conscience simply doesn’t have room for recycling guilt anymore.

And that’s a problem, because China – which used to take the dirty plastic no one else wanted – has finally said “no more!” I suspect our slapping tariffs on their steel somehow made our mayonnaise-coated deli containers less appealing.

But Beth Porter, Director of recycling at Green America, refuses to give up. She has a new mantra for the serious recycler: “So it’s always been ‘reduce. reuse. recycle.’ Now we’re trying to teach people ‘clean, empty, and dry.’ So the importance of making sure the materials we put in the bin are not coated in food or beverage residue and that they are the materials that are accepted.”

That means taking your dirty plastic and glass and actually running it through the dishwasher before it goes into the bin.

I’m thinking if I’m actually going to do that – why not just bring it back to the deli section and have them fill it up with the pea salad again. Or how about this: have the deli person spoon it directly into your mouth! So there China!

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