questionsdo you rinse/wash cans, plastics and glass beforeā€¦


No. If it is a can of beans or something I do but not soda cans or anything. As long as there isn't a lot of gunky food in there I don't. I imagine they are used to it and have some system in place knowing this is how it happens.

Besides, mine never makes it to the recycling directly because people always steal them out of the recycling bins before the truck gets here anyways.


I don't. I make a trip down to our local recycling center about once a month, and they've never said anything about rinsing/washing.


Nope. Cans, I give a courtesy shake into the sink, just to keep from making a mess. Plastic bottles, I just screw the cap back on.


Generally not. They have to be cleaned before they are recycled, so I figure it's just a waste of water. That said, I don't leave lots of crap on them, just slight residues that don't rinse when getting the very last of whatever out.


Yes, but not for the recycling center's sake.
It's to keep my utility closet from stinking up the house.


Yes, curbside pickup is every other week here, I don't need funkiness and vermin.


I wash anything that had food in it, or otherwise might attract insects, yes. I especially wash glass items. I'm more likely to just rinse plastic things (like a milk carton), unless it really seems to need washing. I just toss the glass items into the dishwater with the rest of the dishes.

On the very rare occasion that I open a can of something, I wash it before it goes in the recycle. I don't really have a lot of recycle, and I just keep it in the garage until the bins are full. The largest items I have are junk mail (and other paper trash) and wine bottles.

I just have no interest in attracting insects, and decaying food in containers seems a surefire way of doing just that.


Don't recycle around here.

If you're turning in cans for scrap, crush and deliver is all that is needed.


I only wash my recyclings if there is a lot of food left in them, however
I empty them of food anyway because I hate being wasteful. That spoon full could be in my stomach being yummy!


Yes. Clean recyclables help them recycle more efficiently (direct info from a student of mine who is an engineer at a recycling plant).

"Every little bit helps", he said.

There is a reason why, if you read the labels on your recycling bins, it says "Clean Recyclables only".


I clean it so as not to mess the recyclers clothing or equipment.


Rinse yes, wash no; enough trouble keeping up with my own dirty dishes! and I removed the caps from plastic bottles so they air dry inside.


nope. If they want to force me to recycle non-crv items like food containers, they can wash it themselves. I figure when they melt down the tin cans any residue will burn off. My recycling can is usually 90% full of paper/cardboard anyway.


You know, I've never even thought of washing recycable cans/bottles. I probably should, but I wonder if it makes a difference. The people handling the products would most likely prefer to have clean items to sort, but other than those folks (and I don't mean to dismiss them), does it matter?


I used to, but I've gotten lazy and wonder if it makes a difference. I go through a lot of cans of dog food and there's always gunk stuck on the sides that sometimes a pain to get out.

On a related note, what do you guys do with those razor sharp can lids? Do you detach them completely, wrap it in something, and throw it in the trash, or do you open your cans with it still attached a bit and just fold it in? Or something else? My guy says they're dangerous and I completely agree, but the workers must encounter them so often that there must be some sort of system in place, right?


I rinse my cans and bottles to keep from attracting flies and ants. They are worse this time of year.


@thewronggrape: I recommend removing the lid entirely. I'd still wash and then recycle it, but then, I'm not dealing with dog food cans on a daily basis. I would say I pick up more cans when I go for a walk than I ever produce on my own. I average perhaps three or four cans of anything per year (and at least one of those is black-eyed peas for New Year's Day).

I have a can opener that removes the entire top of the can, though, and it doesn't leave the sharp, dangerous lid that regular can openers do. It's an OXO, and I'm pretty sure they're at grocery stores. I know they're at Bed Bath and Beyond. I recommend them.


I've battled this before: using water to rinse garbage. If you don't have a vermin issue, I'd rather save the water.


My apartment complex charges for garbage, and makes money off of recyclables, so I put everything in the garbage, unrinsed.


@thewronggrape: I try to leave it attached when I open it, and then snap it into the can after all the goodies (or mediocre-ies) are out of the can.


NY City law (regulations? rules? whatever) say items have to be rinsed, not washed, so I rinse them, generally in hot water after doing the dishes. This doesn't do a whole lot for stuff like peanut butter (though most of it comes out with a silicone spatula anyway) but for things like wine bottles and milk cartons it works reasonably well. Cat food cans it does a fair job, except right under the rim.

I normally only take garbage and recycling outside once a week, so it is best for stuff to not have too much junk on it anyways.


Well, I think I would be losing money if I used water to rinse my recycles.

Maybe just leave the basket in the rain?

I'm pretty sure it wouldn't matter anyways.. since it goes straight to the shredder from my recycling center.


@baqui63: I lost my sweet, peanut-butter-loving canine pal Chuck last week. I miss him in many ways, but you just reminded me of another that I hadn't even thought of: that hound could clean just about every speck of PB out of a jar. (He used conventional doggy technique to lick most of it, then when only the last bit remained, he would stick his entire lower jaw inside to scour the bottom!) Back to soaking PB jars in soapy water, I guess. sigh

Slightly more on-topic: I remove food (with or without canine assistance) and rinse.


@ginawoot: first of all I'm sorry for your loss, but you reminded of an answer from my favorite podcasts - My Brother My Brother And Me Where they read a yahoo answers about how to get the last peanut butter out of the jar.


I don't use them if possible.


Yes, only out of habit because I live with a man who's obsessed with having "clean" garbage.

He used to be a garbage man, so he knows all about the maggots, etc that get into the cans. I'm not a fan of creepy-crawly things myself so now it's just a habit.


My city requires purchasing special bags or they simply won't take it from the curb so to answer the question, no.. and do I recycle anything but paper? Nope.


Yes. We often end up with as much recycling as garbage per-week, which lives in a small trash can next to the normal kitchen trash until it it emptied into the bin. I wouldn't want my kitchen smelling of days old milk or anything else not rinsed properly.

Our county provides us with one large wheeled and covered bin (guessing it's 60+ gallons) in which to freely mix all plastic, glass, and paper. Limitless yard trim can be bagged and is picked up on the same day (different truck) from April through early January.


Nope. I don't clean my trash.


Yup, a quick rinse if necessary, keeps the recycle bin not smelling as bad.



I'm sorry for your loss... Pets are such wonderful parts of our lives and it is so sad when they go.


Regarding peanut butter, I've noticed that the natural stuff seems to clean up more easily than stuff like Jiff and Skippy.

The PITA with the natural stuff is that it needs to be stirred to mix it initially and then restirred every few days to keep it mixed. I nuke mine repeatedly for 10 seconds, then wait 20 seconds, then nuke again for 10 seconds, stirring occasionally, until it is a bit warm for the initial stirring.