Can You Recycle This?

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recycle bins
imordaf / Pixabay

More and more items can be recycled every day. Take this quiz to be sure the latest eco-friendly opportunities aren’t passing you by. 

Question 1 of 7

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fruits and veggies spell 'food'
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Can you recycle food?

While you can’t recycle food, you can extend its usefulness. Consider donating fresh food to community food banks and starting a compost pile for used scraps. The less food that goes into landfills, the less that rots there and produces methane, a greenhouse gas with over 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. 

Question 2 of 7

Score: 0

alkaline batteries
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Can you recycle everyday dry-cell batteries (for example, 9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA)?

Dry-cell batteries are the ones you’re familiar with using in electronics. It’s best not to toss these in your regular trash because they can contain heavy metals like mercury and lead that contaminate the environment. Look for special battery recycling stations at major retailers in your community. 

Question 3 of 7

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spray bottles
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Can you recycle household cleaners?

Household cleaners are considered household hazardous waste (HHW), along with paints and pesticides. Call your local waste management agency to see what special collection sites are available in your community. You can also reduce your use of items like cleaners by looking for alternate products made with non-hazardous ingredients.

Question 4 of 7

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stack of pizza boxes
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Can you recycle pizza boxes?

The burning question! What makes pizza boxes unrecyclable (like many used paper products) is the food contamination. It’s the same with used paper plates, napkins and paper towels. The oils in the food separate from the water needed in the recycling process, contaminating all items in the recycling batch and rendering them unrecyclable.    

Question 5 of 7

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compact fluorescent bulb
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Can you recycle fluorescent light bulbs?

Fluorescent light bulbs, including compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), are considered hazardous household waste (HHW), like cleaners, paints and pesticides. Your local waste management company can guide you to recycling programs in your community. Some bulb manufacturers also offer mail-back recycling services. It’s important to recycle fluorescent light bulbs because otherwise they can break in the trash and in landfills releasing mercury into the environment. 

Question 6 of 7

Score: 0

SIM cards
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Can you recycle electronics?

When broken down, electronics provide metals, plastic, glass and other highly recyclable materials. Cell phones, for example, contain copper, silver, gold and palladium. Product manufacturers and retailers typically offer recycling or donation programs. 

Question 7 of 7

Score: 0

dry cleaning hanging on the rack
Ralph Aichinger / CC BY 2.0 /
Can you recycle dry-cleaning bags?

Today, recycling doesn’t end with plastic grocery bags. You can recycle all kinds of plastic film, including dry cleaning bags, storage bags and packaging on products like paper towels, toilet paper and water bottle cases. Look for special signage at recycling stations at grocery stores and other major retailers.

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