It’s called “wish-cycling”—dropping things in the curbside recycle tote in hopes they will be recycled. But this can contaminate the recycling stream so that truly recyclable items can’t be retrieved. Some items like cords and small metal objects can jam or break machinery. This raises costs and adds an extra sorting step to the recycling stream for items that must be pulled out and sent to the landfill instead. Your wish turns into a recycling nightmare.

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