How to Properly Recycle Your Peanut Butter Jars

Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich

photo: VelP (Shutterstock)

I’m confident my household uses far more peanut butter than the average family. Even though we’re a family of just two, we delete 40-oz. Jars of Jif and Skippy almost faster than we can plan trips to the grocery store. I won’t be going on peanut butter for long many virtues here; Instead, I’ll just say that for all my rabid consumption of this perfect product, I’m never 100% sure I’m disposing of the jar properly.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, most plastic peanut butter containers have a frustrating design. The mouth is too small to reach in with your knife when supplies are low and the tapered rim near the tip, narrowed to strengthen the plastic and withstand repeated twisting of the lid, it’s hard to scrape excess peanut butter off. Once the glass is completely empty, it never is Yes, really empty; Peanut butter sits in every nook and cranny of the nook and cranny-filled interior. Can you just cut your losses and recycle the glass as it is?

Are plastic peanut butter cans recyclable?

The most common peanut butter cans are made of #1 polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. This is an easily recyclable plastic and any local program should accept them – provided they are as clean and dry as possible.

Peanut butter is difficult to remove from surfaces because of the oil content melt it as much as you need to wash it off. Using hot water should get you most of the way there, but leftovers will inevitably be left behind; Try scraping well with a rubber spatula to remove the largest clumps. (To reach down into the jar, you can use a fork to slip a sponge around the bottom and use it to fish the sponge back out.) To make it easier to remove, you can also fill the jar with hot water and some soap with the unscrew Open the lid, then shake well to distribute the soap before scrubbing.

How clean does the peanut butter jar need to be when recycling?

It’s not that the inside of the jar needs to be sparkling clean, nor does it need to be food-safe to wash — but it should be largely free of visible streaks of peanut butter. SAfter rinsing, scrape out the last residue with a spatula. Most importantly, it should be dry; Drain it in the sink so it’s liquid-free when you throw it in the bin.

Liquid is the enemy of the recycling process. Oil in particular can contaminate any other substance in the stream, especially cardboard and paper, which can and do absorb the liquid can no longer be converted. That’s why it’s also important to lock the garbage cans outside so that rain doesn’t spoil your items.

Whether or not the lid of the jar should be included when recycling may vary depending on the system used in your area to process recyclable material. The lid often consists of a different kind of plastic, which may not be recyclable. Or it’s made of the right plastic, but it is too small to be of value. Whenever it is recommended to recycle plastic lids, the premise is that this is the case turned on the glass, instead of being added to the trash separately. This is about both the recycling potential of the lid and protecting other recycled materials from the oily interior of your peanut butter jar. As said, dryness is key! We recommend calling your local plumbing department for guidelines specific to your area.

Long story short, just put in a little effort. Nothing has to pass the white-glove test when it comes to recycling, but it should be able to go down the stream without contaminating the items around it. I usually leave a few empty jars stacked in the pantry and then scrape and wash them all together when I have a few free moments in the kitchen. You may want to toss the glass to the dog and let it finish, but avoid the temptation as it can cause choking! That said, a few leaks with the rubber spatula never hurt.

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