Today’s blog comes for our Hotline Assistant, Ani, who is always on the look out for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Many of us know the basics of recycling: paper, rigid plastic containers, aluminum, however, there is one part of the home that is often neglected, the bathroom. Read on to learn how you can keep perfectly good recyclables out of the landfill, and instead give that shampoo bottle or toilet paper roll a new life!
Let me start by asking, do you recycle your empty shampoo bottles? What about the toilet paper roll? Surprisingly enough, not many people do. A survey conducted by the Ad Council, a non-profit organization, revealed that only 34% of Americans recycle bathroom items. More surprising, 22% of Americans would not toss bathroom items in the recycling bins if the bin is located outside the bathroom.
What kind of changes can we make to form a habit of recycling in our bathroom? Here are some suggestions:
1. Place a recycling bin in the bathroom to serve as a constant reminder to recycle
2. Inform others in the household of the items that can and cannot be recycled (see graphic).
3. Assign a recycling expert in your household. I found it useful to assign my youngest niece the role of “Recycling Expert”. She is responsible for making sure everyone in the household recycles properly.
How do we recycle these items? Give your recyclable bathroom items a new life by lightly rinsing out the left over contents from empty bottles and removing the lid or plastic pumps (not yet recyclable). Remember to recycle empty cardboard packaging like toothpaste boxes and tissue boxes. And also make sure that aerosol cans, like air fresheners and shaving cream, are completely empty before recycling (yes, you can place empty aerosol cans in the blue bin, yay!)
So what happens after it is tossed into the blue bin? Bottles composed of PET plastic are recycled and used in carpet fiber, fiberfill for winter jackets and sleeping bags, car upholstery, and boat sails. Other recyclable materials composed of HDPE plastic are turned into flexible construction pipes, and patio furniture. To read more about what other recyclable items become, visit IWantToBeRecycled.org
Another solution to our abundant accumulation of bathroom recyclables is shop for items with minimal packaging or shop in bulk. Products like LUSH Cosmetics strive to minimally package goods in store and opting out on packaging is always an option. You can also earn incentives for recycling your empty make-up containers in-store. Take MAC Cosmetics for example. If you take six empty MAC Cosmetic product containers back to the store, they will give you a free lipstick through their Back to M.A.C. program.
If you want to purchase items in bulk, check out Blue Dot Refill in Ocean Beach. They offer customers the opportunity to bring their own empty bottles and jars to fill up on shampoos, body care products, and cleaning agents. They also accept empty bottles in-store for other customers to fill up and use, so start saving those bottles so you can use them again!
Lastly, another great way to limit the need to shop for bathroom items is by making them yourself right at home! Check out these great recipes on our Pinterest page and be on the lookout for a future blog all about simple DIY beauty products tested and approved by ILACSD staff!
To get answers to other recycling questions, visit our database www.WasteFreeSD.org!