At a recent dinner party I cooked for, the conversation went like this between me and the birthday boy (who is a dear friend hence the light sarcasm):
C: You guys don’t recycle anymore?
BB: Uh yeah we do, what do you think that big blue bin is out there in the garage?
C: Oh, I was just wondering because there’s a bunch of plastic in your regular garbage that can be recycled.
BB: Yeah, it’s dirty.
C: You could give it a rinse.
BB: That wastes water.
C: You will barely use any water and in most cases you can recycle stuff even if it’s dirty. It’s always better to recycle something dirty than to let plastic lay around forever in a dump.
BB: Yeah, yeah.
So, the Q U E S T I O N S are:
1. Does recycling waste water?
2. Can you recycle dirty items?
We looked to our friends at Treehugger for the answers to these questions. According to Pablo, the Vice President of Greeenhouse Gas Management at ClimateCHECK, the answer is YES-you should recycle that stuff because recycling actually saves water!
It turns out that recycling actually saves water. This is because the extraction of virgin raw materials and manufacturing them into single use packaging uses quite a bit of water. Recycling reduces the need for materials from virgin sources and therefore reduces water use.
Pablo via Treehugger
Become A More Efficient Rinser
Recycling centers do appreciate when you rinse. It reduces contamination, but also fossil fuels burned to get heavier recyclables to the center. Treehugger suggests you scrape your container into your compost or garbage receptacle and save the containers until you’re done doing dishes. Rinse containers with the remaining dish water.
What tricks work for you at home? Help other recyclers improve their ways by dropping a comment below!