Hope is the key component of wish-cycling since you want to recycle as much as possible, hoping the items you toss in the recycling bin will become new products.
Why this dilemma and confusion?
The U.S. recycling industry was born in the 1970s in response to growing public concern over litter and waste. The biggest confusion began when the plastics industry began stamping a resin identification code inside a chasing arrow triangle on their packaging and products. Shoppers thought this symbol meant it could be recycled. In reality, only #1s and #2s were relatively easy to recycle, while the rest weren't even collected.
So now what?
Materials accepted curbside need to align with the current ability to sort, process, and find responsible end markets. Placing items in your recycling bin that can't be recycled contaminates the materials stream, and in too many cases the entire load is sent to incinerators and landfills.
"When in doubt, throw it out" may sound counterintuitive but actually helps eliminate wish-cycling while ensuring more materials that can be recycled are recycled. See WHERE TO RECYCLE PLASTIC WASTE IN YAMHILL COUNTY.
(Thanks to Rogue Disposal & Recycling for this Wish-cycling article.)