Recycling Household Cleaners

Generic colorful cleaning bottles against white background

Making recycling part of your daily routine is easy! It’s great for the environment and can have added financial bonuses. When you hear someone talk about recycling you likely immediately think of plastic. That is because plastic pollution is one of the primary pollution issues we face in our  world today. Found on every beach in the world (even those uninhabited), and dumped into our oceans at a rate of about 8 million pieces of plastic pollution per day, we need to do something about the plastic problem. Recycling plastic items is a great way to reduce plastic pollution. One source of plastic you may not have considered throwing into the recycling bin is plastic from household cleaner containers. Soda, water and other plastic bottles are all common items to recycle, so why not add cleaning product containers to the list? Cleaning product containers are major sources of plastic that we buy frequently and can accumulate when not disposed of properly.

Seven Types Of Recyclable Plastics

Plastics are numbered from 1-7 on the bottom of the containers. The number is usually found inside of the recycling triangle. Each number represents a different type of plastic and indicates how and if that plastic can be recycled. Cleaning product containers are often made of either plastic #1 (PETE or PET which stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate) or plastic #2 (HDPF which stands for High Density Polyethylene), both of which will be labeled on the container and can be easily recycled. Plastic #1 is picked up by most curbside recycling programs. It’s usually transparent and commonly found in beverage bottles. Though considered safe, over time this plastic can accumulate bacteria. After being recycled, this material is commonly reused to make tote bags, furniture, carpets, paneling, fiber and even polar fleece! Plastic #2 is commonly opaque and also accepted by most curbside recycling programs. This plastic is also considered safe and can be found in most milk jugs, cleaning containers, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, detergent liners, motor oil bottles, yogurt containers and butter tubs. After being recycled, plastic #2 is often re-purposed to make pens, recycling containers, picnic tables, lumber, benches, fencing materials and detergent bottles.

Plastic #3 is usually Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC. This is a soft plastic that you can find in things like plastic wrap. Plastic #3 is difficult to recycle because it can be made with toxins. Plastic #3 has to processed in a special facility, so if you buy items made from plastic #3, check with the manufacturer to see how and if can be recycled safely. Plastic #4 is low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and is used in grocery bags and dry cleaning bags. This plastic is difficult to recycle, so before recycling plastic #4 check with your recycling facility or see if your grocery store can help you recycle it. Plastic #5 is polypropylene and is used in bottle tops, packing tape and yogurt containers. It’s commonly accepted with curbside recycling programs and is easy to recycle. Plastics #6 and #7 are difficult to recycle. Plastic #6 is polystyrene, and is commonly in the form of styrofoam. It contains styrene which is a harmful chemical and isn’t typically accepted at local recycling facilities. Check with manufacturers to see if they have recycling guidelines on products made with plastic #6. Finally, the last recycling number is Plastic #7. All other types of plastics fall under plastic #7, including plastics that contain BPA and other chemicals. Sometimes, items made from #7 plastics can be recycled at local facilities, but sometimes they require special equipment. Before you put a #7 plastic in the recycling bin, check with your local recycling facility and make sure they can pick it up!

If you’re unsure how to recycle any products, it’s always best to check with your local facility first!

How To Recycle Household Cleaners

Check the number of your household products and make sure your recycling program supports all of the plastics you are trying to recycle. Before recycling, be sure to use the entirety of the liquid, powder or gel in the container or empty the container. One tainted container can contaminate an entire collection of otherwise recyclable goods, forcing the whole batch to be sent to the landfill. Thus, containers must be completely empty before recycling. However, feel free to leave the label on! These labels are usually removed during the recycling process and are sometimes used to help sort products especially with plastic soda and water bottles. Sounds easy enough, right? It can get even simpler. Look into the brands you are purchasing! Some help ensure that all materials including caps, plugs, film packaging, cartridges and more find their way into the proper recycling facilities.

Blueland Cleaners

Unfortunately, most household cleaners and other recyclable plastics are not recycled. National Geographic states that just 9% of plastic is recycled.  If we eliminate single-use plastic cleaning bottles, we can get rid of 100 billion plastic bottles just in the U.S.! Here at Blueland, we have created our very own Forever Bottle. Just as the name suggests, our Forever Bottle is meant to be used forever so you never have to throw it away. Unlike many conventional disposable cleaning bottles, there is no risk of leaching with continued reuse. Made of acrylic, which is a non-toxic, safe and non-leaching plastic, these bottles are designed thoughtfully and responsibly for durability and to be long-lasting. Even though these bottles are not intended to be recycled as they are designed to reuse, they are recyclable. In addition, all of the packaging that the bottles ship in are recyclable, meaning there is no plastic waste from any of our products!

The Clean Essentials

The perfect way to start cutting out single-use plastic from your home