Do your recyclables need to be clean?

Day 314 – Choosing to recycle is a big step in helping the planet. However, it can get confusing. One question that many people have is, “How clean do I need to get my recyclables?” The folks at Earth911 put together a guide to help answer that question and they broke it down by type of material.

Jars, Bottle and Cans

  1. These usually only need a quick rinsing.
  2. If dealing with something like mayonnaise or peanut butter, try to get the majority out, but it does not need to be spotless.
  3. For stickier stuff like honey or jelly, give it a good scrubbing with soap, so you can remove most if not all of the substance.
  4. You do not need to remove labels from jars, bottles and cans.
  5. Allow these containers to dry if you are placing them with mixed recyclables (like paper or cardboard).

Cardboard and Paper

  1. When dealing with cardboard, like a pizza box, recycle what you can. Usually the lid is without grease or food, and can be put with your recyclables.
  2. Don’t be ready to trash a box if you happened to spill a little food on it, while cooking. If it’s not a significant amount, still get that box to the recycle bin.
  3. When it comes to paper, crumbled or wrinkled paper can go into a recycle bin. However, shredded paper can not.

Plastic Bags and Film

  1. If a bag has food on it, make sure you clean it.
  2. Make sure they are dry.
  3. Some crumbs would not hinder the recycling process, but be sure to shake out bags before recycling.
  4. Don’t put your plastic bags and film in your curbside recycling. Find a location (most grocery stores and Target) that will accept them.

By keeping contaminants out of your recycling bin the better chance your items will get recycled.

Tomorrow, drinkable ocean water.

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