Mini-Rumination: Two Environmental Queries

Much to his surprise, The Curmudgeon embraced recycling when it arrived in his community in the 1990s.  Today, he’s an absolute model when it comes to ensuring that items that can be recycled don’t fall into the waste stream.

But he has a question – about peanut butter jars.

We all know we’re supposed to recycle plastic jars, and peanut butter comes in plastic jars.  We also know, though, that we’re supposed to rinse out those plastic jars before tossing them into the recycle bin.

But have you ever noticed how much is involved in rinsing out an empty jar of peanut butter?

It takes a lot of water to rinse out a jar; that can’t be good for the environment.

Also, it takes hot water to rinse out that jar – and producing hot water takes energy.

So here’s the question:  in light of how much water and energy are required to rinse a jar of peanut butter so it can be recycled, is it better for the environment to use all that water and all that energy to heat the water or are we better off just tossing the empty peanut butter jar into the trash?

Now, another environmental question.

You are about to, um, heed nature’s call.  Before setting about to do your business, you decide to wipe at a drippy nose and have a soiled tissue.  In light of the activity you are about to undertake, does it make more sense, from an environmental perspective, to toss that soiled tissue into the trash or to flush it down the toilet since you’re going to flush the toilet anyway and there will be room for your tissue.

(By the way:  these are not intended as trick questions.  The Curmudgeon doesn’t know the answers and welcomes informed perspectives on these matters.)

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