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6 thoughts on “Amusing Monday: Weirdo watches your water use

  1. Normally, recycled materials are rinsed out for purposes of sanitation during storage and to avoid contaminants during reprocessing, which can take place much later than the initial collection. It doesn’t take much water to rinse out a can or bottle, and I’ve always heard that manufacturing with recyclables generally uses less water than using raw materials.

    If anyone else has any thoughts, please contribute.

  2. Even one drop added to many others will add up to a lot of water over time.
    To clarify, my question pertained only to bottles and cans holding liquids.
    It seems silly to me to waste good water rinsing something that held only liquids.. not food items such as a can of chilli.


  3. Sharon,

    I posed your question about rinsing bottles and cans that hold liquids, such as soft drinks, beer and wine, to Chris Piercy, Kitsap County’s recycling coordinator. (Chris replaced Dave Peters, who held the position for years.) Here is what Chris said:

    “Good question. That is something I, myself, often wonder. The fact is that it is important to rinse containers before they are collected for recycling, in order to keep commingled loads cleaner, prevent bee infestations at drop boxes and sorting facilities, keep the belts on the sorting machines at the material recovery facility clean, etc.

    “Will not rinsing prevent the material from being a marketable product? The answer is “it depends”. Beer and soda containers can often be free of liquids, and not rinsed, and still be a viable commodity. Milk jugs and peanut butter jars, on the other hand, do need to be rinsed in order to be marketable.

    “To make a long story short, I suggest containers be rinsed.”

  4. Thanks Chris and Chris Piercy too.

    I understand the need to rinse purely from a recyclable collection viewpoint and CP is certainly right about the ‘bee’ factor coming into play.

    My concern is we – even here – have had water shortages and rationed water for household use. I’ve wondered about continuing to rinse a non-food item, soda bottles for example, knowing people and animals are rationed water elsewhere and see that waste water from rinsing drains uselessly down the sink without giving life saving refreshment to crops, people and animals.

    Didn’t you recently write an article talking about people -fellow in Texas I think – buying up water rights?

    Maybe our scientists should figure out a way to recycling rinses without wasting water to do it…just a thought.
    Should we consider use of gray water instead of the good drinking tap water for rinsing recyclables?

    Thanks again, Chris…

  5. Sharon asked a very good question. I’m happy to recycle, and have been doing so for years, but I have no idea whether it’s actually better for the environment to do so than not.

    The answers from the County’s recycling coordinator weren’t particularly convincing… hey, it’s his job, of course it’s a good thing. I’m not faulting him.

    Just wondering if anybody’s done some scientific/economic research.

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