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Chicago Recycling Quiz Proves That Most Of Us Are Doing It Wrong

By Alex Nitkin | December 8, 2015 1:06pm
 Recycle by City Chicago 
Recycle by City Chicago 
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Recycle by City Chicago 

CHICAGO — Ahead of an upcoming ban on bags — yes, even paper ones — in blue recycling bins, city officials launched a new website Tuesday aimed at keeping Chicagoans informed on how to recycle properly. 

RELATED: Stop Putting Recycling in Plastic Bags - Or Expect it To Get Dumped, City Says

Recycle by City Chicago features an extensive visual guide parsing out which materials belong in the trash, and what can be salvaged. Did you know those paper Starbucks cups can't be recycled here? Also paper napkins must go in the trash, whether they've been used or not. And that pizza box? Trash: cardboard can't be recycled if it has grease stains on it.

If you didn't know, you aren't alone: the site includes a nifty quiz that tests users on their recycling knowledge and only 11 percent of people aced it as of Tuesday afternoon. So far, the average score is a paltry seven correct answers out of 12.


The site also points to some products, like burnt-out light bulbs and rechargeable batteries, that need to be dropped off at special locations instead of being thrown to the curb.

Recycle by City's sleek, interactive style is "meant to help make recycling easy," said Jennifer Martinez, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Keeping the public educated, she said, is crucial to making the city's waste disposal processes run more smoothly.

"Everyone wants to do their part to help protect the environment," Martinez said. "But when you put the wrong items in the blue cart, you contaminate not only your cart but a whole stream of otherwise useful materials."

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