February 8, 2018 2:43 pm
Updated: February 8, 2018 8:45 pm

Does that go in recycling? Test your Edmonton recycling smarts with our quiz

WATCH ABOVE: Do pizza boxes go in the garbage or recycling? Global News took to the streets of Edmonton to test your recycling know-how.


Edmontonians pride themselves on a world-class waste management system, but a recent city audit showed we’re actually not so great at keeping garbage out of the landfill.

The audit found less than 50 per cent of residential trash is being diverted, far short of the goal of 90 per cent.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s long-praised waste management system struggling to divert 50% of residential garbage

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Right now, Edmontonians are asked to separate recyclables from garbage — but it can be tricky sometimes to determine what goes where.

Items like pizza boxes, plastic bags, styrofoam and food wrap are some of the most-searched on the City of Edmonton’s WasteWise app.

Take our quiz to test your recycling smarts — and then scroll down for more information.

In some cases, like plastic bags, the answer is, “it depends.” The City recommends a plastic bag “stretch test.”

Erika Droessler, Education Programs Coordinator with Waste Services, explains: “If you pull on it and it stretches, put it in the recycling! Conventional plastic bags like grocery bags, bread bags, produce bags, dry cleaner bags and sandwich bags can all go in the recycling. Bags that don’t stretch, like cereal bags, pre-washed salad bags, and stand-up pouches should go in the garbage.”

Other items may seem contradictory:

“Aluminium foil is garbage, but aluminium pie plates and pans/trays (for example, like what a frozen lasagna comes in) can go in the recycling,” Droessler said.

Make sure the pie plates or pans are clean first.

Pizza boxes can cause confusion because of the grease left behind. “A bit of grease is fine, but place the paper liner and any food chunks etc. in the garbage,” Droessler explains.

More questions? Moments of doubt? The City has an app for that. The WasteWise app lets you search individual items, and tells you which bin to put them in. The app will also send you seasonal alerts and reminders of your waste collection day.

READ MORE: Alberta recycling industry adapts to China’s new policy on importing recycle waste

Since the WasteWise app launched in October 2016, the top five most searched items are styrofoam, pizza boxes, plastic containers, plastic food wrap, and plastic bags.

Other items that often end up in the wrong bin include cardboard boxes, glass jars, metal food cans, pop bottles and plastic beverage containers (all of these go in the recycling), and shredded paper (this goes in the garbage.)

And don’t forget about EcoStations: the place to dispose of batteries, paint, light bulbs, your old phone and more.

Watch below: Waste Services Education Programs coordinator Erika Droessler sat down with Gord Steinke to explain to Edmontonians how to properly recycle.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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