LONDON, ONT. -- If in doubt, leave it out.

That’s the advice from city hall as London’s growing appetite for take-out food has spawned a wide variety of new containers that could contaminate blue boxes.

“We’re seeing more of the foam polystyrene,” explains Jay Stanford, Director of Environment and Solid Waste. “We’re also seeing laminated materials with a coating on the paper, it might be aluminium on top of paper, we don’t want that either.”

Contaminating blue boxes with non-recyclable takeout containers, or containers with residual food waste, can make sorting more difficult and lower the quality of recyclables for resale.

Stanford recommends consulting your waste collection calendar or the city’s website for up to date information about which take-out containers can be recycled.

A link can be found here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted take-out dining and food delivery to new levels in London.

Brooke Stafford says her household is leaving a lot more at the curb on collection day.

“We definitely have a lot more garbage from being home. We find it’s a lot of take-out,” she explains.

“Recycling has gone up 4 to 5 percent by weight, while garbage has also gone up 3 to 4 percent by weight (since 2019),” says Jay Stanford.

He attributes those amounts to the pandemic.

A lot of London households have noticed the volume of their trash rising more than the weight, based on the amount of light weight packaging materials.

The variety of which continues to grow as restaurants seek the best way to keep food warm and protected.

Brooke Stafford says it only takes a couple minutes each week to do her household’s part.

“I always try to make sure I go through and organize it.”