You have recycling questions, we have answers.

Reader Bob Shaw has a problem. He’s got a kayak with a big old hole in it and is wondering whether he can recycle his paddle-propelled plastic.

Short answer: Yes.

Ken Prue, the city’s recycling program manager, said via email:

The plastic kayak could be cut up and placed in the blue recycling cart as long as it fits entirely within the cart. It could also be taken to EDCO’s buyback recycling center in Lemon Grove (and other locations (call 619-287-7555 for details).

Good luck getting it in your blue bin, Bob. I speak from experience here: Chainsaws aren’t as handy for chopping plastics as you might expect.

David Lynn, another reader, asked whether he’s required to wash recyclable cans and glass before blue-binning them. “And more importantly for our environment,” he asked, “how much water is it worth using to clean before recycling just doesn’t come out ahead?”

Prue said it’s not necessary to wash bottles, jars or cans that aren’t plastic before recycling them. He said:

Just make sure that any excess product is removed by dumping it out scraping off the sides if necessary. However, plastic food containers should be rinsed clean. Remember to reduce water consumption by using the clean-up water after washing your cooking utensils. For peanut butter or similar food containers, use all of the contents, scraping the sides if necessary and give a quick rinse with soapy left-over dish water. For plastic food containers with excessive amounts of residual food, oil, grease, etc. that don’t lend themselves to a quick rinse, throw them in the trash. Excess residual material can contaminate the plastic being recycled, and containers with excess residue would likely be separated and thrown away during the recycling process.

Have a recycling question? Contact Rob Davis directly at or 619.325.0529 and follow him on Twitter:

Rob Davis was formerly a senior reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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