>> Monday, May 11, 2009
This is just a quick simple post to answer a question from my mom, but I thought the answer might be helpful to others too.
Your sister's family is recycling like crazy. You'd be proud of them. Is it really necessary to take the paper off aluminum cans and rinse them out? You waste a lot of water rinsing them out and that seems like a big waste itself.
The guidelines for recycling differ from city to city, so it's important to check with your own city's waste management. But...
In my area, you do not need to take the paper off the cans, but if you wanted to go to the trouble, you could probably recycle the label with your paper as long as it wasn't wet or contaminated with food.
My city's recycling program does request that you rinse out cans, but since that wastes water, they recommend filling one can with water, pouring the dirty water into the next can, and so on until all of your cans are rinsed. The cans only need to be rinsed, not spotless.
I use that method for rinsing out our breakfast dishes (crusty oatmeal is sometimes too great of a challenge for our dishwasher). But to rinse out cans, I save them until the end of the day and rinse them out in the dirty dish water after I've washed the rest of my dishes. This method works for me because it gets the cans cleaner - we keep our recycling under the kitchen sink and only take it out when it's full (which could take a couple weeks).
So that's my answer, Mom.