Tee Cee's Tip for Monday, Feb. 27, 2023

Feb. 26—Dear Tee Cee: Are the nozzles on spray bottles recyclable? I use a lot of household spray cleaners for windows, etc., and my kid thinks the nozzles are not recyclable. I don't see any indication on the bottle as to whether the whole product is recyclable or just the bottle. — Caitlyn

Dear Caitlyn: Your kiddo is right! The plastic nozzles on spray bottles are not recyclable and should be removed from the bottle and put into the trash. Spray nozzles are typically made of multiple types of plastic and often have wire springs, making it difficult for plastic recyclers to process. However, the empty plastic bottle is recyclable.

But before you toss that working spray nozzle and recycle the empty bottle, consider refilling it—reuse is always better than recycling. Try making your own inexpensive, nontoxic, zero waste household cleaner with two ingredients: white vinegar and water.

Some people don't love the strong smell, but vinegar mixed with water is an excellent cleaner, and the odor quickly disappears after it dries. Vinegar's acidic nature is strong enough to dissolve mineral deposit, dirt, grease and grime, and powerful enough to kill bacteria. Vinegar is also inexpensive, and a (fully recyclable) jug of vinegar will last much longer than the store-bought glass cleaner. Note that vinegar should never be used on marble countertops since it is corrosive.

To make your cleaner, mix 1/4 cup vinegar with two cups water in your reused spray bottle. Shake the mixture vigorously, and you're good to go for cleaning surfaces, windows and floors.

If you want to cut the scent of vinegar, add a little lemon or citrus, which is also highly acidic. If you don't have lemon juice handy but have a few leftover orange peels, try soaking them in a jar of vinegar and water mixture in your refrigerator for up to two weeks for the citrus smell to be more potent. Remove the peels, and spray away.

Keep going with the reuse theme and swap paper towels for an old scrap of clothing or rag, and you have a fully zero waste cleaning kit. Visit the Eco-Cycle resource library at ecocycle.org for more inexpensive green household cleaner recipes. — Tee Cee

What other household sustainable swaps cut down on waste and save you money? Email recycle@ecocycle.org or call Eco-Cycle at 303-444-6634 with your suggestions.