Recycling Basics: Don’t be a “Wish-cycler”

Do you feel that you’re a good recycler? While many people place items in their curbside cart for recycling, very few people are clear about what can and can’t go in that cart. Have you ever walked up to your recycling cart with an item, but you’re not completely sure it can be recycled, but just in case, you toss it in. This common practice is called “wish-cycling” by recyclers. No big deal right? The recycling facility will just pick it out if you’re wrong. The problem is that when the wrong items are placed in your cart, it costs time and money to sort them out, and can often contaminate the other recyclables so that they have to be thrown away.

What can you do? Start by finding out what your refuse company can recycle, since not all sorting facilities are set up to process the same materials and please don’t wish-cycle. Please don’t place items in plastic bags and make sure containers are relatively clean. They don’t have to be spotless, but most of the food residue should be cleaned out.

If the City of Redding picks up your recyclables, here’s a short list on what can be placed in your blue curbside cart:

  • #1 and #2 plastic bottles and jugs. Generally, if the top is smaller than the bottom, it can be recycled.
  • Tin or steel cans – it’s okay to leave the labels on.
  • Aluminum beverage cans.
  • Clean cardboard, newspaper, junk mail and paper.
  • Magazines
  • Glass bottles and jars – only glass containers that held food or drink

These are some of the most common items that should NOT go in your recycling cart:

  • Pizza boxes – the grease and food residue contaminate the clean paper.
  • #1 plastic clamshell containers.
  • Aluminum pet food cans.
  • Plastic bags
  • Styrofoam

A more detailed list can be found by going to: https://www.cityofredding.org/departments/solid-waste/residential-customers/recycling. The City does recycle additional materials at their recycling/drop-off area at the Transfer Station at 2255 Abernathy Lane. Items such as: clean, dry, clear or light colored plastic bags, #5 plastic tubs, rigid plastics, shredded paper, and clean, dry styrofoam (#6 only).

If your solid waste pickup is done by Waste Management, go to: https://www.wm.com/location/california/north-valley/shasta-county/residential/recycle.jsp

Do you have recycling questions? If so, contact Christina at cwein46@hotmail.com

Learn more about recycling by joining Shasta Environmental Alliance on our field trip to for a tour of the recycling facility in operation at the City of Redding Solid Waste Department, 2255 Abernathy Lane, Redding on October 16 at 10 am. Please contact David Ledger at ecoshasta@gmail.com is you wish to participate.

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