Are You An Aspirational Recycler?

You’re walking through the mall with a can of soda in your hand. There’s still a tiny bit of drink left, but you’ve had enough and you decide to toss it.

You see a green recycling bin and think to yourself, “I can throw it here since it’s recyclable.” So you do. 


Although your heart was in the right place, your knowledge about recycling left a little bit to be desired.  You are what is known as an aspirational recycler. You put trash in the recycle bins, thinking they belong there when they actually don’t. You actually may beharming, rather than helping, recycling efforts.


An aspirational recycler throws something into the recycling bin, hoping that someone will sort it out later. Unfortunately, doing that can cause problems at the recycling facility. For example:

  • Biohazards such as biological waste, syringes, and broken glass put workers in danger.
  • The wrong things in the equipment can cause blocks, clogs, and breakages, slowing down the workers and forcing them to make extra trips to the landfill.
  • Biowaste can contaminate recyclable materials, making them useless.
  • Operational costs increase, as it’s expensive to get workers to sort through recyclables by hand.


Some items which you definitelyshouldn'trecycle arewax-coated coffee cups,greasy food containers,plastic bags,batteries and electronics,heat-treated glass,cutlery, hangers, medicine bottles,aerosol cans,shredded paper, fireworks or flares,needles, cables, wires,rubber, andyard waste




  • Avoid buying packaged produce.Buy loose produce then put them in a mesh bag.
  • Make your own products.You’ll be doing away with plastic packaging.

It’s a great idea to recycle, but if you’re not sure about what you’re throwing into the recycling bin, do a little more research first. In the meantime, focus on reducing your waste output and reusing what you can in your home. Every little bit helps our planet.