To rinse or not to rinse… that is the recycling question

Have you ever pondered this recycler’s dilemma? Have you asked yourself – how clean do my recyclables have to be?  Do we need to rinse items before they go in the recycling? These are important questions, especially when we want to save water for more important uses.

The answer is no, residents do not need to rinse recyclables with water before placing in the recycling. To recycle right in San José, make sure to empty and scrape any remaining food from recyclable containers such as yogurt or hummus tubs, peanut butter jars, or plastic takeout containers before placing in the recycling. You want them just clean enough that food and liquid won’t ooze out over the other items in your recycling cart and contaminate them.  In fact, any food and liquid that goes into your recycling cart also goes in the recycling truck where it can even contaminate your neighbors’ recyclables as well!   If items are not emptied and scraped, or they are too soiled with food or liquid, they should go in the garbage instead. Placing soiled items in the recycling can ruin otherwise clean items and prevent them from being recycled.

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