Food Scraps Don’t Belong in the Recycling Email Is your jar half-full of salsa? Does your can still have food in it? Don’t toss them in the recycling! Food scraps contaminate the recycling process. When food scraps get into your recycling, they make recyclables less clean and less valuable. Food can get stuck in sorting equipment, forcing workers to stop the sorting line to clean it up. Food can also seep into paper products, making the fibers too weak to be recycled — liquids, sticky residue and leftover grease, especially. Long story short: A batch of food-contaminated recycling can quickly end up in the landfill. What can you do? Empty and scrape out any containers that once held food.