Recycling policies vary from place to place, but you've probably heard that you should rinse your jars, bottles and cans before putting them in the recycling bin. In reality, you probably don't have to stress about it. Over at KQED, Recology recycling centre manager Robert Reed says that we really don't need to waste water rinsing our recyclables.
A half full jar of peanut butter would be too much, Robert says, but their equipment is prepared to handle some residue.
This might vary by recycling facility, but Ecomyths also agrees (in a way):
Why do the service requirements differ so much? And what happens if you don't follow your local guidelines? We posed those and other questions to Eric Masanet, PhD, a Northwestern University Energy and Resource Systems Analysis Laboratory professor and researcher, and editor-in-chief of science journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling. His short take: It's smart to follow the rinsing guidelines in your area, but not necessary to stress if you sometimes forget.
The video above shows how recycling works when it leaves your bin, which is pretty neat. Almost as neat as not worrying about having those jars squeaky clean.