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Bathroom Recycling by the Numbers

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Get in the know! Here are all the numbers you need (we’ve already done the math).

You’ve learned what toiletries and other bathroom items you can recycle, gotten into the habit of bathroom recycling, and even found a perfect bathroom recycling container. But everyone loves a breakdown, so here we present some fun facts and figures about recycling in the bathroom:

#1 and #2: The plastics (PETE and HDPE, respectively) that are most often used for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, baby powder and other toiletries. These are the most-commonly accepted plastic types by home recycling programs, too.

#5: The type of plastic (PP) that is usually used to make bottle caps. Not all curbside programs accept #5 plastic, so be sure to check with your hauler before adding it to your bin. Also ask how they like their caps: Some recycling facilities prefer for you to leave the caps on, and some will request you take them off. If your curbside program does not accept #5, look for a drop-off or mail-in program for #5 plastics.

60%: The percentage of consumers who have access to curbside recycling programs that accept #1 and #2 plastics1. (To see if you’re in the lucky majority, check with your hauler to see if they accept them!)

40%: Roughly the number of people who do not recycle bathroom items at all1.

1 in 5: The number of Americans who consistently recycle in their bathrooms1. (If you’re one of them, give yourself a pat on the back!)

20%: The percentage of people who don’t realize that bathroom products are recyclable1. (You’d be surprised at how many products in your bathroom are recyclable — check out our list of 8 Bathroom Items We All Forget to Recycle to learn more.)

25-44: The age range of people who recycle the least[1]. (C’mon, Gen X, let’s go!)

32 Million: The amount, in tons, of plastic waste generated in 2011[2].

8%: The portion of the total plastic waste in 2011 that was recovered for recycling[2].

$485 Million: The value of plastic wasted in the United States in 2009[3].

552 Million: The number of standard-sized shampoo bottles that could end up in the landfill each year if we don’t recycle[1].

All these numbers add up to 1 simple fact: Recycling in the bathroom is just as important as it is in every other room of the house.

1 American Recycling Behaviors, Shelton Group on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.
3 Keep America Beautiful

How are you proactive about recycling in the bathroom? Tell us your plans 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.

  • jacci u. 1 year ago
    I recycle everything possible! Soap/shampoo. Tp rolls Kleenex & other boxes aswell
  • Wendy K. 1 year ago
    I recycle my shampoo , conditioner and all 1 & 2 products also the toliet paper rolls, and boxes from other prodcuts.
  • Ellen G. 1 year ago
    always recycle cardboard toothpaste boxes
  • Dona E. 1 year ago
    My husband and I strive to have as little garbage each week as possible and as much recycling as we can, of what we have that's able to be recycled. We have reduced our clutter and become minimalists somewhat, so it's easier all around.
  • Catherine J. 1 year ago
    I try to keep item to recycle in mind but hard at time.
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