Do you recycle in the bathroom? I have to admit that I only sometimes recycle shampoo bottles and other things from the bathroom.
It’s pretty unlike me too, since I stress out over organic material going into the garbage instead of the compost and I prefer to UPcycle (like these upcycled peanut butter jars) before REcycling anything.
And it looks like I’m not alone. A new study conducted by the Ad Council found that 52% of Americans don’t know which items can be recycled in the bathroom and 47% are not recycling in the bathroom.
That’s a lot of waste hitting the landfill that could be turned into useful products instead!
My problem is that I don’t know which ones are actually recyclable and if we put items in the recycling bin that can’t be recycled, it could mean that a whole bunch of recyclables just get tossed in the trash anyway. Bummer.
So, I’ve decided to finally figure out which bathroom products can (and can’t) be recycled, and start, well… recycling them.
Which bathroom product containers can be recycled?
Recycle in the bathroom: Shampoo, body wash, lotion, and mouthwash containers
These containers are usually made of #2 plastic (HDPE), or #1 plastic (PET) which are accepted by most recyclers.
Some facilities might require you to remove the tops which are usually #5 plastic (PP). Plastic #5 is recyclable, however, is melted at a different temperature than #1 and #2 so they may need to be separated. (Click here to see what a shampoo bottle can be turned into! #berecycle)
You can reduce your use of these kind of containers and reduce your need to recycle them by:
- Making your own mouthwash and storing it in a (reusable!) glass bottle
- Showering less often (many Americans shower too frequently)
- Buying shampoo in bulk using your own reusable containers
Recycle in the bathroom: Pill bottles
Many can be recycled. Check the bottle for #1 or #2 plastic which are usually accepted in curbside recycling. Plastic #3 and #5 are less likely to be recyclable but you should still check with your local recycling facility.
You can also upcycle pill bottles to a million things (check out some ideas on my Pinterest board).
Recycle in the bathroom: Cardboard packaging
Cardboard packaging from soap, toothpaste, makeup, etc can be recycled. Don’t forget about the toilet paper roll too. Most cardboard packaging can be composted too.
Recycle in the bathroom: Makeup containers
Makeup containers can be difficult to recycle. If they are made of plastic #5 and your local facility accepts #5 then great! Otherwise, you can send them to Terra Cycle. Also, some makeup companies (like MAC and Lush) have a recycling program so you can send your used compacts back to them for recycling (and usually get discounts or free products).
Or you can reduce your use of these containers by:
- Making your own and storing it in a glass jar
- Wearing less makeup
Recycle in the bathroom: Plastic packaging and films
These are typically not accepted curbside but can still be recycled with a little extra work. Find a drop off location here.
Recycle in the bathroom: Toothbrushes and toothpaste containers
Typical toothbrushes and toothpaste containers aren’t recyclable, however, Tom’s of Maine and Colgate both accept toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes for upcycling and recycling through Terra Cycle.
Instead of using plastic toothbrushes that need to be recycled you could try these biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes.
Great list! There are SO many things that can be recycled in the bathroom, and I like how you went on with making your own mouthwash and stuff. I’ve started making my own shower cleaner and have eliminated glass cleaner too. My city started an organic waste program so I’m trying to get into the habit of making sure my cotton balls find their way to the organic waste bin!
Thanks Heather! And what a great idea to compost things like cotton balls. There are a lot of things we use everyday that don’t need to go in the trash but we may not even think about them.
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