• Green Office

Against “Wishcycling”: Amsterdam City Recycling Guide

Many feel an urgent need to recycle and ‘play their part’ towards a more sustainable future, but what if we’ve been doing it wrong all this time?

Considering the incredible amount of waste we produce each year, which accounts to 508 kg per capita in the Netherlands alone, making sure we dispose of items properly is vital. Yet, errors from discarding dirty pizza boxes to mistakenly thinking some items are recyclable are leading to dysfunctional waste management systems and unnecessary damage to our environment. Wanting to recycle is great but what if you’ve not been doing it quite right? What if we have been wishcycling instead?

What is Wishcycling?

Perhaps unfamiliar to many, “wishcycling”, known also as aspirational recycling, describes our tendency to believe that certain items are recyclable when in fact they are not. Even though wishcycling is based on good intentions, it inevitably feeds into a deeply rooted psychological cause, which is our desire to do the proper thing. It might be tempting to view recycling as an easy solution to global environmental issues, especially considering its prevalence in mainstream culture; however, relying on this rather defective practice in attempt to foster sustainability is a tricky issue.