The Modern Man’s Guide To Recycling Plastic Bottles

When the horrific devastation caused by plastic waste was highlighted by Sir David Attenborough recently, the world was shocked.

recycling plastic bottles stops them ending up in the seaBut a  survey by Garnier found that 56% of people in the UK do not recycle their bathroom products. Another alarming fact that has emerged is that 552 million shampoo bottles wrongly end up in landfill sites in the United States every year – The big question is why?

Whilst most of us now have recycling bins in our kitchen and diligently divide our kitchen waste, why do we not do the same with bathroom waste? By recycling plastic bottles and dividing other items carefully too, we will help reduce the vast amount of recyclable household rubbish that ends up in landfill sites each year. 

The bathroom has so many recyclable packaging products of all shapes and sizes. Recyclenow pulls no punches and on its website states –

‘If everyone in the UK recycled one bathroom cleaner bottle, enough energy could be saved to vacuum around 82,460 homes’.

Time to separate your bathroom waste and start recycling plastic bottles

Many people are now installing a second rubbish basket in their bathroom so that they can effortlessly divide their waste.  If floor space is tight, a carrier bag hung on a hook on the door will work too. So many bathroom products come with too much packaging including cardboard toothpaste boxes and fancy boxes containing skin creams, soaps and aftershaves. They certainly look attractive, but serve no purpose and all end up in the rubbish!

It is worth thinking about the products you buy and opting for products with less packaging or recycled packaging wherever possible or supporting those shops that are making a conscious effort to minimise waste

Choose your products carefully

It is well worth seeing if your favourite shampoo or shower gel is available in a much larger size so that you can decant it into a smaller bottle. This is especially important when you are flying with cabin baggage as you can use and re-use plastic bottles in the correct miniature size (check the airline’s website) rather than spending a fortune on small travel bottles. Try and avoid products presented in a cellophane wrapper as sadly, this cannot be recycled.

recycling plastic bottles is easy with special bins and boxesDispose of rubbish thoughtfully

All your plastic bottles of shampoo and shower gel can be recycled. Ensure they are totally empty by adding a few drops of water when just a little remains and shaking it well, as this helps clean the bottle. When the bottle is completely empty, rinse thoroughly and pop it in your recycle bag/ basket. The following products can all be recycled:

  • Plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles (remove pump dispenser)
  • Cardboard tissue boxes (remove plastic liner first)
  • Glass jars and aftershave bottles
  • Cotton pads
  • The cardboard tube from the inside of toilet rolls
  • Empty aerosols and deodorants
  • Bathroom cleaner and plastic bleach bottles
  • Plastic pill bottles
  • Empty shaving foam aerosols
  • Empty shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser bottles

There are some products that you can’t recycle

  • Plastic bags of any size and plastic film
  • Pump soap dispenser
  • Toothpaste and plastic toothbrushes
  • Cotton buds (only bamboo cotton buds are eco friendly and biodegradable)
  • Metal razor blades (Collect them in a box& put them in skip for metal at your local dump)
  • Used paper tissues
  • Wet wipes

Get into the habit of recycling plastic bottles and cans!

Like anything new, it will take time to get into the habit of sorting all your bathroom waste and it might take a ‘post-it’ sticker on your mirror to remind you for a while but recycling plastic bottles is an easy one to do! states that whilst 90% of kitchen packaging is now recycled in the UK,  only 50% of bathroom waste is, so there is currently a big drive to increase this percentage.

Support eco-friendly stores

recycling plastic bottles in body shop storesSeveral well known toiletries companies have recycling collection points in their stores and these include The Body Shop and L’Occitane. TerraCycle is an innovative company that is encouraging everyone to recycle and upcycle. They have a number of drop off locations where you can take items for recycling and they also operate a postal scheme for you to mail recyclable items. The company’s big project for 2021 is collecting everyone’s unwanted crisp packets.

The toiletries company Aveda uses 100% recycled packaging and has taken recycling plastic bottles to a new level because it has recycled 145 million bottles so far. Another toiletries company, Lush has pushed environmental concerns to the top of its agenda and is using minimal packaging and encouraging its customers to bring back their empty bottles and pots to be recycled. The company is also currently looking at launching a refill scheme.

Sir David Attenborough certainly shocked everyone when he revealed how the world’s beautiful oceans and marine life were being endangered and ruined forever by unwanted plastics. Today, he feels confident that the world is beginning to tackle the threat of plastic waste:

“I think we’re all shifting our behaviour, I really do”  Sir David said in a recent interview with the BBC.

Why not commit to doing your part… from today, start recycling plastic bottles and anything else possible. If we all start doing our part, we CAN make a difference.