Do I need to rinse out containers before recycling them?

Mainly out of obsessive compulsivness, I rinse out jars, bottles, and aluminum cans before taking them to recycling. Is there any need for this? (Other than not having my recycling bin smelling like stale beer and not attracting ants?)

I’m guessing that hardly anybody else does, so my clean cans aren’t going anybody any good after they’re mixed in with others that each have a swallow of coke left in them. Am I doing any favors for the recycling centers?

I used to not do it, but then our city mentioned in a newsletter that they should be. I’m going to assume it has more to do with rodents at the collection area then anything else.

Would enough food build up to seriously affect the strength of the recycled metal?

You should clean/rinse out the recyclables. Especially in the warmer weather. I get a little slack in the winter on drink bottles, we always rinse out cans and jars.

It is all about the rats and smell that builds up.


No. They are all melted down, and that temperature is high enough to burn away any leftover food particles.

The brochure from the City of San Jose recycling program says items should be “lightly rinsed.”