Container Recycling: Rinse or Not?

Recycling Explained

With good intentions, someone can easily cause more harm than good when it comes to recycling general household cleaners, pesticides, fertilizer or other chemical containers. If not properly rinsed, these can seriously harm waste haulers and recycling workers as well as contaminate other recyclables. Follow this rinsing guide for recycling contianers in the single stream.

Container Rinse Guide:

Containers include: Plastic Bottles, Tubs &  Jugs // Glass Bottles // Paper Cartons // Cardboard Boxes // Metal Cans

>>see all accepted items in the single stream bin<<


Container Label does not include chemical warnings

Recycle If:
-Empty & Dry-
-Rinse if Needed-
-Lid OK if Empty (no nozzles or pumps)-

“The cleaner the better, but doesn’t have to be spotless.
If a quick rinse will help empty container, please rinse.”


Container Label includes: “Caution”, “Warning”, “Danger”, or  “Poison”

Recycle If:
-Completely Drained-
-Triple Rinse Required-
-Lid Removed to Air Dry-

“Must be COMPLETELY empty to prevent chemical burns”


*If not empty, bring to HHW Facility*


Container Label includes: “Biohazard” and/or “Medical” warnings

-Too Dangerous for Single Stream-
-Contact Manufacturer for Alternate Disposal-

“NO BioHazard or Medical Chemical Containers Allowed”



How to Recycle Home Chemical Containers:

  1. Read the label.  Check if disposal instructions are specified.
  2. Make sure it’s empty.  If there is left over product, bring the container to the Sioux Falls Household Hazardous Waste facility for proper reuse or disposal. See a list of examples of what they accept here. Do not dump chemicals on the ground or into a storm drain. Certain products, like a window cleaner, may be able to go down the drain accompanied by plenty of water. If there are no directions on the label, think about how you use the product. If it mixes with water, it can most likely be disposed of down the drain with running water – just like when you use them.
  3. Rinse, Rinse, Rinse! Chemical containers must be triple rinsed with water and air-dried before recycling. This means rinsing a container three times minimum in order to remove all of the hazardous material and residue.
  4. Place empty and dry container in recycling bin (no lid).


For lab containers, commercial chemical containers or anything larger than 5 gallons, please contact us for help as these must have prior approval before being recycled.