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.