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How well do you know recycling?

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Test your recycling savvy by answering true or false to the following questions:

  1. #6 plastics and Styrofoam can’t be recycled because they can’t be made into new products. – FALSE: #6 plastics can be made into new products, but in the St Louis region, the costs to recover them exceed their market value. This means it doesn’t make economic sense to include #6 plastics in curbside programs
  2. Plastic bags should not be recycled curbside because they gum up the sorting equipment. – TRUE: Plastic bags and film end up wrapping around the automated sorting equipment causing shutdowns. Please do not put any type of plastic bag in your recycling cart. Return plastic grocery bags to grocery stores for recycling.
  3. Containers must be washed prior to recycling. – FALSE: It is not necessary to wash your recyclables before recycling them. For sanitary reasons, materials should be relatively clean and dry. Tip: Use a spatula to remove residues (e.g., peanut butter, mayonnaise, salsa, etc.).
  4. Pizza boxes can be recycled. – TRUE: Pizza boxes can be recycled. Please remove cheese, crusts, and dipping tubs first!
  5. Disposable plates, cups, and utensils can be recycled. – TRICK QUESTION: Actually, the BEST option is to use reusable plates, cups, and utensils to avoid creating additional waste! However, if you do choose to use disposables, avoid #6 plastic plates, cups, and bowls – none of them are recyclable. Increasingly, stores are now carrying disposables made with #1 and #5 plastics, which can be recycled. Paper cups and plates that aren’t soiled with food can also be recycled. However, plastic utensils (forks, knives, and spoons) cannot be recycled curbside.
  6. Alkaline batteries (AA, C, D, etc.) can be safely thrown away in the trash. – TRUE: Alkaline batteries do not contain the hazardous components found in rechargeable batteries. There are recycling options through mail-back programs, but typically there is a fee. Use rechargeable batteries whenever possible. Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at many different places. Locations can be found by visiting
  7. You have to wait for a collection event to recycle electronics (computers, TVs, VCRs, etc.), rechargeable batteries, and cell phones. – FALSE: St Louis County partners with e-cycle St. Louis, a regional program that encourages the reuse and recycling of electronics. Numerous facilities are registered as official collection sites and can be found at or by calling (314) 615-8958.

(Information taken from St Louis County Health Department’s newsletter.)

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