Recycling in the bathroom

March 5, 2024


Whilst most of the packaging in kitchens across the UK is recycled, it is estimated that only around 50% of bathroom packaging is recycled. Often, the reason for this is that people tend not to have two separate bins in their bathroom to separate the waste, leading to all packaging being placed in the one general waste bin. Another reason you might not recycle bathroom packaging is because you’re unsure what to put in the recycling bin – do I clean it? Do I put the lid on? Is this recyclable?

It appears a lot of us struggle with bathroom waste more than other areas of the house, and for this reason we have put together the following information.

Keep packaging clean and dry

Hubbub have put together a guide of how to get the most out of the packaging before you consider recycling. When placing packaging in recycling, it must be clean and dry so these are tips are a great way to do this but also prevents any product left inside from being wasted.

  1. Flip it to collect the last bit of product
  2. Soak it in hot water to loosen the product
  3. Chop off the top and scrape out what’s left
  4. Rinse and drain the packaging
  5. Double check what parts of the packaging can be recycled
  6. Recycle it or bin it if you can’t

For a bit more information, take a look at the ‘how to recycle you bathroom products’ article.

What can be recycled from the kerbside?

Whilst there are some items that can’t be recycled from your bathroom, there are also many that can be recycled if emptied, rinsed and dried, such as:

  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Shampoo/conditioner/shower gel bottles – keep the lids on
  • Cleaner/bleach bottles – keep the lids on
  • Deodorant/hairspray cans – keep the lids on
  • Glass bottles (may have contained cough medicines, etc.) – keep the lids on

However, it’s important to note that the below can’t be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin from your bathroom and therefore need to be put into the general waste bin:

  • Roll on deodorant
  • Soap pumps (the container can be recycled but the pump needs removing and putting in general waste)
  • Trigger sprays (found in cleaning products such as antibacterial spray, the clear container can be recycled but the pump needs removing and putting in general waste)
  • Plastic tubes – may have contained toothpaste and hand cream
  • Blister packs (medication is packaged in this)
  • Wipes
  • Nappies or sanitary products
  • Toothbrush

Some organisations do have recycling schemes where you can take back some of the above items. If you’re a keen recycler it’s worth looking at Superdrug, Boots or Terracycle to see what services they offer.

For more information on Leicestershire recycling, visit the LessWaste recycling pages or Recycle Now’s Recycling Locator.

Waste reduction in the bathroom

Although quite a lot of packaging from the bathroom can be recycled, preventing waste is a better option. From reusable bamboo pads to bars of soap, there are many ways of reducing waste in your bathroom at home.

  • Bamboo pads or a flannel instead of cotton wool
  • A bar of soap instead of a bottle of shower gel
  • A shampoo bar instead of a bottle of shampoo
  • A refillable dispenser instead of a single use liquid antibacterial soap
  • A safety razor instead of a disposable razor
  • A reusable nappy instead of a disposable nappy
  • A menstrual cup instead of a sanitary towel