Originally Published: 02/24/10
You might not think of extra strength drain de-clogger or heavy-duty stain remover as eco-friendly, but you can green the end life of said cleaning product. How? Many cleaning and personal care product bottles are made of plastic #1 or #2, which means many municipalities will accept them for recycling.
According to Keith Christman, Managing Director of Plastics Markets at the American Chemistry Council, you should treat them like any other recyclable bottle or jug-rinse and re-cap or toss the cap depending on what your local government suggests. He said they are not more difficult to recycle than other plastic bottles.
A reader recently asked us: What should we do with the cleaning product residue that's left in the bottle?
Brian Sansoni of the Soap and Detergent Association says that cleaning products such as laundry and dishwashing detergents; multi-surface cleaners; bleaches; disinfectant cleaners; and liquid metal polishes; drain openers and toilet bowl cleaners, can be flushed down the drain with running water, and typically don't contain ingredients that would harm the environment in the quantities that are disposed of by households.
He explained, "The vast majority of cleaning products are water soluble and are formulated for safe disposal in either municipal or home wastewater treatment systems." Christman said that cleaning product residue does not pose a problem for recycling systems.
According to a report from the American Chemistry Council, 99% of plastic bottles recycled in 2008 were plastic #1 or #2. Christman said the majority of recycled PET (plastic #1) goes into fiber, like carpet or polyester and fleece jackets and also back into bottles. In the case of HDPE (#2), recycled material goes back into items such as cleaning and personal care product bottles, runoff pipes, automotives, and composite decking.
So the next time you empty a bottle of window cleaner, remember it's probably recyclable. "I think it's more from a habit perspective. People are used to recycling the things in their kitchen," said Christman, "but sometimes they forget that cleaning and personal care products are fully recyclable too."
What else have you been surprised to find is recyclable? Share below!