Hello, readers. My column advising the husband of the woman who collects recycling inside their house sure inspired a lot of people to write in with their tips. Thank you. With so much feedback, I wanted to share a few and to respond.
"Matt" thought washing recyclables was a waste of time and water, explaining how modern dishwashers don't require prerinsing of dishes before loading.
He is correct that most newer dishwashers don't require prerinsed dishes (just scrape off the food, and don't worry about the sauce), but according to the recycling guidelines of many major cities' programs and industrial recyclers, materials definitely need to be cleaned before recycling. Otherwise, they're garbage. In my original column, I mentioned a "warm- water rinse," which makes sense if you already have the warm water going in your sink. A cold-water rinse may be plenty for some cans and bottles.
Plus, clean recyclables are less likely to attract pests and won't smell as you store them. You'll use less water washing peanut butter jars and other sticky containers in the dishwasher. Remove the labels first so they won't clog filters, and be careful with plastics.
"Anne" suggested presorting the cleaned recyclables inside the house and storing on vertical shelves with baskets, lined wicker if it's sturdy, or attractive plastic bins. This is a great idea and will definitely make your recyclables nicer to look at.
Of course, store recyclables in a way that makes sense for you. Some people clean them and keep them inside for the week. Some get rid of recyclables daily. It just depends how your house is set up and what you can tolerate.
Check to see collection procedures for your area, and simply sort your recyclables by what gets collected regularly and what you're willing to take someplace else.
I love hearing your thoughts. Please continue to send in your comments and ideas.
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