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The Bathroom Impact

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For such a small room, the bathroom generates a lot of trash. Have you checked for what’s actually recyclable?

If you’re scrupulous about recycling, chances are you dutifully fill your blue bin at the office, rinse out peanut butter jars and yogurt containers in the kitchen, and gather up your old electronics for your community’s electronics recycling day. No matter where you are, there’s one room whose recyclables are often forgotten: The bathroom.

If you haven’t considered the recyclables in your bathroom, you’re certainly not alone — according to a recent survey, only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle items from the bathroom, and for 22% of the people surveyed, the idea of recycling bathroom products never even occurred to them1.

It may be the smallest room of the house, but it generates a big portion of trash that could be recycled instead: Almost 552 million 15-oz. shampoo bottles alone could be ending up in our landfills each year1. Shampoo and soap bottles, toilet paper rolls, and empty pill bottles are just a few of the many recyclable items from the bathroom that are frequently thrown in the trash. As long as we remember to recycle them, they could avoid the landfill and be used to make other materials and products instead.

Take a look around your bathroom — you may be amazed at how much is easily overlooked. Check the bottoms of bottles and other containers to see if they’re made of a plastic that’s accepted in your area, and be sure they go in your recycling bin rather than your bathroom’s wastebasket. Remember all of the recyclable paper and cardboard products that can be recycled too, like soapboxes, toilet paper rolls, and magazines.

Whether or not you’re already in the habit of taking shorter showers and using environmentally-responsible toiletries and cleansers — and even if you’ve installed a low-flow flush system in your toilet — it makes perfect sense to reinforce your eco-friendly intentions by recycling in the bathroom, too.

Now that you’re looking, what else are you finding around the bathroom that’s recyclable? Share in the comments below! 

Learn more about Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.'s Care To Recycle campaign.

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.

The Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies is committed to taking care of the natural resources they use. With 9 billion people in the world by 2050, and natural resources already being consumed faster than the planet can replenish, caring for the planet has never been more important. One way Johnson & Johnson takes care of the planet, is to use recyclable materials in their product packaging. But they need your help to complete the cycle of care by recycling the package when it is empty.


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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.

  • Kristin M. 3 months ago
    I re-use cleaned bathroom cleaner bottles for DIY solutions for easier cleaning.
  • Carina C. 3 months ago
    Energy efficient lights
  • Debi D. 3 months ago
    I recycle the rolls from tp and use for crafts or as a fire starter
  • Alice B. 1 year ago
    Buy larger shampoo and conditioner bottles. have the gallon size of each just outside the tub. it is cheaper and less plastic to recycle.
  • Karen B. 1 year ago
    I have made a habit of placing the recyclable items on my top step when they are empty. Then I take them down to my bin when I go down. That way I don't end up having to store one more thing in an area with limited space.
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