Local City Campaigns to Stop ‘Wishcycling’

Fort Worth City Hall | Image by Community Impact

Fort Worth has launched a new recycling campaign designed to educate local residents about what can and cannot be recycled.

The campaign is called WAIT, an acronym for “Where Am I Tossing?” The initiative is meant to encourage local residents to pause and think before they throw items in the wrong cart, thereby reducing “wishcycling” — putting random things in recycling bins and hoping that they will be recycled, whether there is evidence that they are recyclable or not.

Representatives for the city’s recycling program have complained that residents are placing their nonrecyclable trash into recycling bins, which they say winds up going to landfills after being sorted, costing the city millions in lost revenue.

“Almost 30% of the material that goes to our local recycling processing facility is contaminated,” said Christian Harper, contract services administrator in the Code Compliance Department’s Solid Waste Services Division. “And most people don’t know that nonrecyclable items tossed in your blue recycle cart cost the City and residents five times more to process than if those items had been tossed in the brown cart.”

Harper believes WAIT can effectively train residents to properly dispose of recyclable and nonrecyclable items.

“Our goal is to engage residents in recycling right,” Harper said. “Once that happens, we hope to see residents recycling more of the correct things.”

At the Republic Services Recycling Facility in Fort Worth, roughly 400 tons of plastic containers, cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, and glass are resold or repurposed daily. The business of recycling not only provides a number of local jobs but also generates significant revenue for the city and its contractors, according to officials.

“About 20-30% of what comes here to the material recycling facility ends up being waste, and it should have never gone in the cart in the first place,” Brandon Bennett of Fort Worth Code Compliance told Fox 4 News. “That’s about $2.5 million in lost revenue each year.”

“The better people do at recycling, the lower our costs and the higher the revenue we get and the longer we can push out a fee increase to our residents,” Bennett said.

Fort Worth residents can check if specific items are recyclable by visiting the “Waste Wizard” website or by downloading the Fort Worth Garbage and Recycling app from Google Play or the App Store.

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