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The Phenomenon Wishcycling – What is It?‎

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Wishcycling is a term that is entering the vocabulary of people involved in sustainable development. This is the practice of throwing things in the recycling bin that are not currently recyclable, but people wish they were. Wishcycling can be harmful because by throwing something non-recyclable together with recyclables, we actually slow down and pollute the recycling process.

The Reasons

There are several reasons we observe this phenomenon. One of them is the lack of information about what can and cannot be recycled. People may not be familiar with how the recycling system works. Although only certain types of materials can be used to make a new products, some people choose to believe that if they put something in the recycling bin, that item will become a new product instead of being buried in a landfill, incinerated or thrown away.

The trend is the opposite of the skepticism of many Bulgarians years ago that what is left in the bins for separate collection of waste is not actually recycled, but mixed again.

Misleading Signs

If people are guided by the recycling signs, they are likely to be misled. We are used to seeing symbols and variations of recycling signs used to indicate recyclable materials. Not everything that is marked with the sign of three “chasing arrows” that form a continuous circle can be recycled. This symbol is not a trademark, but is in the public domain and can therefore be used by anyone.

How to recycle the right way?

Office paper, magazines, newspapers, cardboard should be placed in the paper containers. In those for glass, people should dispose of green, clear and brown glass bottles and jars. Plastic bottles and aluminum jugs should go in the plastic bin. Recyclable plastic usually has a small symbol printed on the bottom and, depending on the product, may have a number stamped in the center of the “chasing” arrow symbol. This number issues a code that helps recycling plants sort materials.

What should not go in the recycling bins? Tissues in the paper waste, plastic bubble wrap, light bulbs. Waste composed of both paper and plastic elements should not be placed.

Waste that cannot be recycled or is not biodegradable can be used as a fuel called energy from waste. In the waste incineration facilities of some recycling companies, it is possible to use such energy. The process produces steam which is used to generate electricity by powering a steam turbine. The resulting energy is used in the main recycling process.

How to turn waste into a valuable resource?

Household hazardous waste such as expired medicines, household cleaning products, varnishes and paint materials, mercury-containing appliances, as well as all types of packaging marked “flammable”, “toxic” or “hazardous to the environment” can be collected on request by calling 070011750. Also, on request, electronic and electrical equipment such as washing machines, irons, stoves and TVs are collected, and the contact phone number is 080014100. Mobile operators offer the return of old devices against a voucher for a discount on the purchase of new ones.

Batteries must be disposed of in designated areas in many retail locations. Light bulbs can be returned to the stores from which they were purchased. Used car tires should be returned to a tire center and old car batteries should be handed over to car repair shops.

A guide to the separate collection of household waste gives advice on how to properly dispose of anything that one is unsure how to recycle. The Sofia Municipality has a schedule for the collection and transportation of bulky waste and construction waste generated by households when carrying out repair work on the territory of the Sofia Municipality.

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