Carolyn Wawra, Executive Director of Recycle Utah

Should I rinse a container before I chuck it in the recycling bin or not? We know plastic grocery bags are a no-no, but can I throw Ziplocs in there? What about a pizza box? We asked Recycle Utah Executive Director Carolyn Wawra to clear up some of our most pressing curbside-recycling conundrums, once and for all.

What are the most common things people mistakenly put in the curbside bin?

Plastic bags, ranging from the bag your cereal comes in to those zippered sandwich bags. The Salt Lake sorting facility does not accept these (but Recycle Utah does) and they can contaminate an entire load. No glass or Styrofoam in the bin, either.

Can I tear the top off my pizza box and put it in the recycling bin?

Yes! Cardboard is recycled using water. Oil and water don’t mix, which is why the greasy side of the box should not go in the bin.

How clean do food containers need to be before they go in the bin?

About 90 percent clean. A quick rinse with water usually does the trick.

What’s the single most important thing Parkites can do to protect our water and soil?

Groundwater plays an essential role in our environment and public health.To keep toxic waste out of the landfill and, ultimately, our water, bring us items like batteries, CFL bulbs, Styrofoam, plastic, household hazardous waste, and electronics instead of throwing them in the trash

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