Cleaning Plastic Recyclables

Have you ever wondered just how important it is to clean the plastics you put in your recycling? There have been times where I spent a good ten minutes rinsing and scraping all the peanut butter residue out of the container, and found myself wondering: Maybe using all of this hot water is hurting the environment more than me recycling this container is helping! Well, the research on the subject indicates that there is a point when it becomes hazardous to use too much water, but there’s also a point where if something is too dirty, it may not get recycled at all. Every city and state has their own unique regulations, but according to Portland’s recycling professionals down at Portland Metro, the cleaner it is, the easier it is to recycle, which makes them more productive workers and the enterprise a more profitable endeavor, which means more money and resources towards making the world a cleaner place.
Here are a couple of tips from another recycling professional, Your’s Truly. First off, why’s there so much residue left in the container? I had this pointed out to me the last time I was doing my peanut butter cleaning ritual. There shouldn’t be much of a need for cleaning out containers if you are utilizing the product for all the nourishment that it’s worth. Spatulas work wonders when it comes to getting down to that last drop. And for the containers with wider openings that have little nooks and crannies that the spatula can’t get to, I simply take a piece of bread and soak it up (hummus, artichoke dip, etc). Then all it takes is a quick rinse and into the recycling bin it goes! And for those worst case scenarios where nothing seems to work, drop a dab of soap in the container, add some water and let it soak overnight. The folks down at your local recycling plant will appreciate it!
Below is the website for Portland Metro’s recycling standards. For those of you not in the area, I would encourage you to find out more about your local recycling facilities. There’s a world of helpful information out there that is literally right at our fingertips. Thanks for reading and happy recycling!