Preserving the Environment

How Good Are You At Recycling? Take The Quiz

October 22, 2014
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How Good Are You At Recycling? Take The Quiz
Recycling bins
Wikimedia Commons
Which of the following everyday items should you recycle?

1. Aluminum Foil
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
During World War II, Americans would take care to save the aluminum in gum wrappers. Today, aluminum foil can be recycled and returned to store shelves in as few as 60 days, according to Waste Management. Just make sure you clean any food residue off of it first.

2. Aerosol Cans
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
They might be made of aluminum, but that doesn’t mean they can be recycled like a soda can. Aerosol-powered products like spray paint and hair spray can almost never be recycled. They’re explosive and contain materials that can pollute the waste stream and groundwater. Make sure the cans are completely empty before disposing of them in the trash.

3. Solo Cups
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
These are typically plastic No. 6, which is generally acceptable at local recycling centers, though it’s harder to repurpose than plastic Nos. 1, 2, and 5. If you have a choice, buy cups that are No. 5s.

4. K-Cups
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
One in three Americans has discovered the joys of the single-cup coffee pod. They’re fast, convenient, clean — and recyclable. Split the pods open, empty them completely of all coffee grounds and recycle the plastic. It may take a little extra effort, but it’s worth it.

5. Juice Boxes
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
The makers of popular juice boxes are working on recyclable juice boxes, which will be specially marked. But until those are rolled out, juice boxes have to go in the trash.

6. Wet Paper
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
Paper is generally a good thing to put into a recycling bin, but if it’s wet, its fibers aren’t strong enough to be reused, according to Mother Nature Network. Plus there’s the risk of contamination.

7. Plastic Shopping Bags
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
There’s just no excuse to contribute to plastic bag pollution anymore. Your local grocery store probably collects these from returning customers. Better yet, save them for future use (transporting small items, doggie bags, etc.).

8. Tin Cans
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
These are some of the most-recycled items in the U.S. today. About 71 percent of these cans do end up in the correct bin. Making a new can with an old one saves about 75 percent of the energy that goes into the process, according to Waste Management.

9. Waxed Cardboard
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
While most cardboard is fine to recycle, many municipalities won’t accept the waxed kind, like what’s used in some shipping boxes and juice or milk cartons. The tricky thing is that waxed cardboard isn’t always labeled. If the surface of the cardboard is smooth and shiny and doesn’t include the recycling symbol, however, you’re safe in assuming that it’s waxed, and that you can’t drop it in your curbside recycling bins.

10. Yogurt Cups
Recycle
Don’t recycle
Yep!
Nope!
Yogurt cups, butter tubs and other items made from plastic No. 5 can now be recycled at most Whole Foods stores through their partnership with Preserve’s Gimme 5 Program. Just drop them off in designated bins, and Preserve will upcycle the items into useful things like toothbrushes and park benches.

 

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