The bathroom is one area many families tend to forget when it comes to household recycling. In fact, of the 69 percent of American families that recycle, just 20 percent include bathroom items. Johnson & Johnson is helping raise awareness about recycling bathroom items with its Care to Recycle campaign. Check out how this little boy is joining in:
So what are some bathroom items that CAN be recycled?
Recycling is not just reserved for soda bottles and milk jugs. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, baby oil, body wash, facial cleanser and even medication bottles are ALL recyclable in most areas. Patty Moore is the CEO of Moore Recycling Associates, and is considered an expert on plastic recycling. She says that in addition to the empty bottles themselves, caps are now recyclable, too.
“We spent many years telling people to take the caps off of bottles before throwing them in the recycling bin, but now we are trying to educate people in the other direction,” Moore said. “Leave the caps on the bottles and they will be processed, too.”
Think of the all of the cardboard-like items in your bathroom that likely end up in the trash can: Toilet paper rolls and all those cartons and boxes containing bandages, soaps, lotions and over-the-counter drugs. These items are made from the same materials as common kitchen recyclables, like cereal boxes, so they should end up in the same location: the recycling bin.
Moore says that many people do not realize that the packaging on the outside of many bathroom items, like toilet paper packs, is recyclable too — but not by throwing it in the regular bin.
“Plastic wrapping is recyclable but you want to throw it in with your plastic grocery store bags and take it all to the specified spots for plastic bags,” she said.
Avoid putting plastic bags or wrap of any kind in with regular recycling though, because it actually causes more problems. A recent Harris Poll found that 39 percent of Americans believe plastic bags can go inside their regular household recycling bin.
“Every time you go to the grocery store, take your plastic bag and wrap stash with you and recycle it there,” Moore said.
Not everything in the bathroom is recyclable… yet. For now, you still need to dispose of toothbrushes, tubes (like the ones containing toothpaste or ointment), pumps, and dental floss/containers in the normal trash can. For more information on what can and cannot be recycled from your bathroom, check out the Care to Recycle list.
In her 30 years in the recycling industry, Moore has seen great progress when it comes to the amount of items that are now accepted, especially when it comes to plastic.
“Double check what plastics are recyclable in your area because you may be surprised at what you can recycle instead of throwing away,” she said.