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Recycling: A Big Waste of Fresh Water?

There's got to be a more resource-effective way to clean our recyclables.

Water. Precious water. We, mostly in the western world, tend to take for granted the sparkling, clear liquid that flows freely from our indoor plumbing. With the turn of a faucet, we command a stream of liquid gold to serve our every need and desire. With something seemingly so plentiful, seldom do we view clean water as the luxury it is, and for the scarcity it may become.

It has been said that the next world war will be fought over water. Some scientists agree that water supplies have been dwindling for years now. Concerns have been addressed about politically unstable countries facing critical water shortages, and the resulting impact on the global community. Egypt and Pakistan, even China are cited as potential threats for serious water shortages in the future.

The US has made remarkable progress in environmental preservation efforts. Our collective recycling endeavor has led the world in reducing the proverbial “footprint.” People of all ages, in almost all communities, attempt to do their fair share by recycling waste whenever possible.

There’s just one catch. Recycling companies publish instructions for successful recycling efforts, which advise rinsing all recyclable cans, bottles and other containers before placing them in the collection bin. Homeowners willingly comply, as recycling is often collected biweekly, and food or sugar remnants left in a container could potentially attract insects, animals and rodents to their property.

So the question arises: What will have the greatest impact on the effort to preserve the earth’s resources: clean recyclables or reduced water consumption? My guess would be reduced water consumption, however, there must be an efficient way to accomplish both.

Oh, great minds of the Vineyard, put on your thinking caps. How can we create a global campaign (or island-wide, at least, for starters) to reduce the fresh water used to clean out that peanut butter and hardened spaghetti sauce in our recyclable jars?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Conathan February 25, 2013 at 04:15 AM
Short answer: wipe out (and compost!) the bulky stuff (i.e. half jar of aging pesto, remnants of stewed tomatoes, etc.) and leave the crusty remainders. Rinsing is generally unnecessary. See this Slate.com article for more details. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2009/02/clean_jar_clean_conscience.html
K.F. Rogers February 25, 2013 at 03:11 PM
A very informative article. Thank you.
joy February 26, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Interesting!

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