We showed some common pieces of garbage to people in New Haven and asked: “Does this go in a recycling bin or a trash can?”

Some of the answers stumped even the most environmentally savvy.

Recycling is the more environmentally-friendly option, but, while your intentions are good, tossing the wrong items into the recycling bin is actually worse for the environment.

Here’s a cheat sheet:

Paper coffee cup:
Trash! There’s a protective lining in cups that will contaminate the recycling pool. 

Food containers or wrappers
Trash can. The oils in the food make the used container unrecyclable. 

Aluminum can:
Recycle (but clean them off first)

Paper bags:
Recycle (but, again, as long as there’s no food residue)

Plastic and glass:
Recycle (as long as it’s clean!)

Cardboard box: