In the world of recycling, there is something called a tangler. A tangler is any item that can wrap around equipment at a recycling processing facility putting both the workers and machinery at risk. Tanglers include, but are not limited to, plastic bags, plastic film, clothing, ropes, strands of lights, hoses, wires, chains, blinds cords, and metal hangers.
Tanglers end up in the recycling bin usually by good intentions in an act we call wish-cycling: when someone thinks that an item has material value and can be recycled into something different through the curbside bin. However, due to the troubles that tanglers cause at the recycling facility, even if a tangler is made of recyclable material, it does not belong in the curbside recycling bin.
Though the act can be well-intentioned, wish-cycling leads to many issues along the recycling process including:
1. Damaging equipment and recycling workers.
2. Slowing the recycling process and decreasing efficiency.
3. Increasing the cost of collecting and sorting the materials.
4. Decreasing the value and marketability of recyclables.
Think back to the last time you were unraveling tangled headphones, necklaces, or wires… remember the frustration that came up. Now consider that, but in the mix are turning metal gears and machinery bigger than you.