Do I Have to Rinse My Recyclables?

before you recycle something, you may want to consider rinsing it outYou’ve just created the most incredible sandwich of your entire sandwich-making career.

Fresh bread. Crisp vegetables. Delicious meats. Your favorite condiments.

And today is your lucky day because you managed to scrape the last of the mayonnaise out of the jar (or squeeze the last of the secret sauce out of the bottle) with just the amount you needed!

But what do you do with the empty jar/bottle? Should you rinse it before you recycle it?

Rinsing Out Jars, Bottles & Cans

If empty jars, bottles, and cans have visible residue within the container, you should rinse them out before tossing them in the recycling bin.

This doesn’t mean you need to break out the dish soap and a sponge in order to clean out the remaining contents. All you need to do is fill the jar, bottle, or can with water and swish the water around until a majority of the remaining contents are removed from the sides. That’s it!

However, for containers that were filled with more sticky substances (jelly, honey, marshmallow fluff), take the extra few seconds to give it a quick scrub.

Cleaning Plastic Bags

The same rule applies to plastic bags that are considered recyclable — clean out any contents.

Sure, small crumbs aren’t a big deal, just shake them out. But if something leaked into the bag or was used to wrap something up (like food), run it under the sink for a few seconds.

Then, allow the bags to dry before stuffing them in your recyclables (water can be bad for the recycling process once it arrives at the recycling center).

What About Paper Products?

The number one question asked is usually about pizza boxes.

Here’s the scoop:

If the pizza box is covered in grease (which it usually is), it is NOT recyclable. However, if the box is clean as can be with only a speck or two of grease, then it’s okay!

For all other paper and cardboard, this should be recycled — even if it’s been torn up or crumpled. Just because it’s not broken down perfectly doesn’t mean it should be thrown away instead of being recycled.

If you’re recycling things that should be recycled — that’s great! (But please don’t throw a half-filled jar of peanut butter in the bin…)

Knowing what you can and cannot recycle is half the battle. The other half is actually recycling the items — but we take care of that half, so you don’t have to!


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