Quiz: Test Your Recycling Knowledge

Written by: Malory Maletic and Tessa Harvey

How much do you really know about the facts, figures, and stats of recycling?

Test your knowledge with this quiz, and check out the answer guide at the bottom for more information.



  1. Styrofoam often has a recycling symbol and a number 6 on it. Is it recyclable?

       Answer: No

       Explanation: Styrofoam is a form of polystyrene (the plastic labeled number 6) called expanded polystyrene. It is not accepted through Kent County’s recycling program, although there are some third-party organizations who will accept and reprocess used Styrofoam. (Source: https://www.recyclekent.org/material/styrofoam-packaging-materials/)


  1. US recycling efforts have increased how much in the past 20 years?

Answer: 0 percent

Explanation: The U.S. recycling levels have not improved in 20 years despite the billions of dollars spent on recycling competitions, symposiums, awareness campaigns and new sorting technologies. (Source: http://www.recycleacrossamerica.org/recycling-facts)


  1. How many tons of recyclables are sorted at the Kent County Recycling and Education Center every day?

       Answer: 144  

       Explanation: The Kent County Recycling and Education Center sorts and bails ALL of the recyclables generated in Kent County, and some from out of county, too. (Source: https://www.recyclekent.org/recycling/what-happens-to-recyclables/)


  1. How much energy is saved by reprocessing recycled aluminum instead of using virgin material?

        Answer: 95%

        Explanation: Because recycled material has already been processed once, it takes much less energy to process the material for a second time. (Source:  https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-benefits-recycling)


  1. Can you recycle aerosol cans?

         Answer: Yes

         Explanation: Empty metal aerosol cans are recyclable through Kent County. (Source: https://www.recyclekent.org/portfolio/metal-cans-foil/)


  1. How much money can West Michigan make by disposing of our waste properly?

         Answer: $56 million

         Explanation: Millions of dollars in resources are thrown into West Michigan landfills every year. (Source: http://www.imaginetrash.org/infographic/)


  1. Recycling one ton of office paper saves how many gallons of water?

Answer: 7,000

Explanation: Office Paper. One ton of recycled office paper saves 4,100 Kwh of energy, 9 barrels of oil, 54 million Btu’s of energy, 60 pounds of air pollutants from being released, 7,000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.


  1. Which of these should you NOT recycle?

Answer: Spiral-bound notebooks

Explanation: You should not recycle electronics, foam, needles & medical waste, batteries, propane & helium tanks, pots, pan & silverware, string lights, chains, ropes, dishes, paper plates, & napkins, windows, doors & mirrors, ceramics, label & sticker paper, spiral-notebooks, wrapping paper & tissue paper, and hazardous materials. (Source: https://www.recyclekent.org/about/faqs/).


  1. The recycling symbol #1 is most often recycled into _____?

Answer: tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, fiber and polar fleece.

Explanation: #1 is accepted by most curbside programs and used to make soda and water bottles. (Source: http://naturalsociety.com/recycling-symbols-numbers-plastic-bottles-meaning/).


  1. Can you recycle hazardous materials?

Answer: No

Explanation: Chemicals can endanger people and the environment if disposed in the trash. Please use Kent County’s SafeChem household hazardous waste program to safely dispose of left-over chemicals. (Source: https://www.recyclekent.org/hazardous-waste/).


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