Sometimes you come across recyclables with a note on the container reading “empty and replace cap.” This is most often seen on drink containers and the like. But how empty does it need to be? Should you thoroughly clean your recycling before dropping it in the bin? It’s becoming common knowledge that things like greasy, used pizza boxes can’t be recycled because of food grease. So how much is too much before your recycling begins to contaminate the rest of the batch? In today’s blog, we’ll discuss how clean your recyclables should be.

Rinse Any Containers That Held Food or Drinks

Before dropping the plastic milk carton in the trash, make sure you rinse it out and you don’t see any milk clinging to the sides. Cans or jars that held sauce should be rinsed in a similar fashion. It’s great to remove the labels first, but not necessary when it comes to aluminium cans or plastic. Containers like chicken broth cartons can be trickier because they’re designed in such a way that it’s difficult to see into the container. Fill these up with water and continue to run it until the water that comes out is completely clear. If you have any chemical cleaners, make sure to rinse them before throwing them away so that the chemicals do not contaminate the batch.

Dry Recyclables Once You’ve Finished Rinsing Them

Again, you don’t have to be completely meticulous with this, just do your best. A couple drops of water won’t ruin the batch. However, keep in mind that there is cardboard and other paper products in your recycling bin, and these could be ruined by wet. Let your recycling dry for a bit before you throw it into the bin.

Can You Throw Pizza Boxes Away?

Pizza boxes are tricky, because pizzas leak so much grease, and that can spread to the rest of the recycling. But that doesn’t mean pizza boxes can never be recycled. If there are surplus pizza boxes at restaurants that haven’t been covered in food waste, those can be recycled. Even used pizza boxes might be salvageable. If the grease is so widespread that you can see an outline of where the pizza once was, throw that away rather than recycling. If you only notice a small spot or two of grease that doesn’t go through to the other side of the bin, it should be safe to recycle.

It’s understandable to have questions about recycling, and we at Brazos Valley Trash Valet & Recycling are here to help. Check out our list of acceptable materials and other resources. We offer weekly trash disposal with a complimentary recycling bin. Contact us today to learn more about our services or how to responsibly recycle.