Most of us in the Northland have been curbside recycling since the early 1990's. Along the way we've separated our paper from the plastic and tin only to go back to co-mingling the items in one dumpster.  We've been doing it for so long now that we've become experts.

Or, have we?

One of the adages about recycling is that you need to properly wash your items - especially glass, plastic, and tin - or they won't be recyclable at the facility.  It turns out that this isn't necessarily so.

According to research done by a Twin Cities television station, the washing part has nothing to do with the acceptability of the items; "dirty" or unwashed plastic, glass, and tin is recycled just fine.  The reason for washing is for you and the hauler;  unwashed items can start to smell and washing them just prevents that.