Ask the Experts: How to Recycle Peanut Butter Jars — A Sticky Subject

Peanut Butter Jars
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Q: How do I recycle my peanut butter jars?
—Rita

A: We’ve all been there. You’ve just spread the last scoop of peanut butter on your PB&J sandwich only to be confronted with a challenge: a recyclable container that is too dirty to recycle. Don’t stress — we’ve got you covered. Read over these three simple steps to get that sticky jar recycle-ready.

1. Check the Number

If your peanut butter came in a glass jar, it can be recycled once you’ve completed the following steps. If your peanut butter came in a plastic jar, make sure it has a recycling symbol with a #1 or #2 on the bottom before proceeding. Plastic jars with any other numbers can’t be recycled, don’t need to be cleaned and go in the trash.

2. Scrape

Using a spatula or other utensil, remove as much peanut butter from the jar as possible. Alternatively, if you have a dog, consider letting them lick the leftover peanut butter out of the jar in lieu of scraping it out.

3. Soak & Shake

Fill the jar one-third of the way full with warm water and a drop of soap, then replace the cap and let it soak for five minutes. Shake vigorously for twenty seconds, drain and rinse. At this point, only a small amount of oily residue will be left in the jar.

4. Dry

Set the jar upside down in a drying rack or on the edge of the sink to drip dry. Once the jar is dry, replace the cap and it is ready to recycle. If your peanut butter jar is made of glass, recycle the lid separately from the jar.

Not a peanut butter person? These steps will also work for other nut and seed butter jars, as well as most other hard-to-clean jars.