It’s really important to rinse out your recyclable containers before you put them in your recycling container.
In single-stream recycling, all of the materials collected are separated out at the material recovery facility. Because materials come into contact with one another in these streams, it’s more likely that liquids and foods will spill onto paper products. This can contaminate paper and force the recycling facility to divert the product to the landfill. Rinsing out bottles and cans reduces the likelihood that your recycled materials will be sent to the trash.
You don’t need to scrub those plastic and glass containers with soap and water to make them clean enough to eat off of. But taking a moment to give them a rinse, even if it’s just with dishwater runoff, will ensure that they end up getting processed.
Rinsing also reduces odors and prevents pests from getting into your containers.