Uncertainty around recycling can result in Wishcycling, which refers to putting non-recyclable materials into the recycling stream, hoping that they can be recycled.
Though Wishcycling often stems from good intentions to reduce waste, it can result in the contamination of recyclable materials, creating health, safety, and quality control issues. Materials such as glass and foam packaging can break down into unrecoverable pieces, and get mixed in with the other recyclables, contaminating the materials and creating a potential health and safety risk for workers. Film plastics (e.g. plastic bags and snack wrappers) disposed of at the curbside get wrapped up in sorting equipment and intermix with other recyclables causing equipment failures and lower quality recyclables. Reducing contamination at the source is important because if present, it can result in entire loads of recyclables being sent to the landfill, making recycling costly to both the environment and our wallets. Fortunately, common contaminants (listed below) are recyclable or compostable at CVRD recycling facilities, where they can be managed appropriately: