The rinsing generally just eases the process of recycling the materials (for the workers, who have to endure the aromas emitted by the residue on old containers), and reduces rotting and smell. However, our recycling centers are “well-equipped” to deal with left over residue on our bottles, cans, and other containers. Waste left on cans will burn off as the cans are melted, and our plastics used go through a process of being flushed with water as they’re recycled.
That doesn’t mean that you should throw your half-finished tartar sauce jar into the recycling! Out of respect for the workers, it’s always nice to eliminate some of the bigger, more prone to rotting and smelliness residue, especially if you’re two weeks away from your pick-up date. But, it’s not required that everything be completely residue-free.
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