Portlanders aren't as great at recycling as they'd like to think.
As WW reported in 2018, Portland's recycling contains too much "contamination"—that is, trash thrown in the wrong containers. Because of all the garbage that ends up in blue bins, recycling centers in China stopped accepting Portland's contaminated shipments. A study last November by Portland State University also showed that in 2017, Oregon recycled only 27.1 percent of its waste.
So regional government Metro this month released an online game aimed at helping residents become more landfill literate.
The game, "Recycle or Not," consists of images of items that often stump recyclers—plastic takeout containers and hot drink cups, for example. For each item, you swipe left or right to guess whether it should go in the trash or in the recycling bin.
Kimberlee Ables, a Metro spokesperson, says the game is an attempt to simplify recycling information for Portlanders.
"We know that folks in the greater Portland area are confused about what can go in their recycling bins at home," Ables says. "Metro and other local government partners connected with community members to get some feedback on our current messaging and materials. One of their suggestions was to simplify the information, provide color coding and unify it across the region. Recycle or Not was a tool that was born from that conversation."
The game accompanies an Instagram page, @recycleornot, which is a forum for people to ask recycling questions and share tips.