Busy Moms: Finding the Time to Recycle in the Bathroom

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Every mom I know is busy — it’s in our DNA. In order to make sure everyone is where they need to be with everything they need to have, multitasking is a built-in mom job requirement. But when you’re trying to do everything, sometimes important things get forgotten. The lunch is left on the table, the form is sent to school without a signature … I’ve had more than my fair share of such lapses.

One of those areas that’s slipped a little as my kids have gotten older and life has gotten crazier? Recycling in the bathroom. It seems we’re not alone. According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., 80 percent of moms report that forgetting tasks is a normal part of being a busy parent, and nearly 60 percent wish they remembered to recycle more often.

Finding a Solution

As a green living writer, I should be knocking this recycling thing out of the ballpark, right? I struggle sometimes, yet I do my best: I’m always trying to find ways to encourage my two daughters to keep their environmental footprint as small as possible. I’ve shown them how to recycle since they were little and we made a game out of throwing bottles into the recycling bin. As they learned to read, we began reading product labels together, and now we discuss the ingredients and what they mean. And, since moving to California, we’ve learned more about conserving water.

My youngest daughter enjoys raiding the recycle bin to find materials to make her inventions.

For us, recycling in the kitchen seems to be easier to remember, probably because we have a recycling bin right next to the garbage can. The same is true in the office. In the bathroom, the effort to take an empty shampoo bottle, for example, all the way to the recycling bin seems to be a problem when we’re in a hurry.

How can we be so diligent about the environment most of the time and then completely forget about it when it’s less convenient?

When I brought it up (for the millionth time), my youngest asked why we didn’t have recycling bins in our bathrooms. Great question! (She’s a smart cookie.) Right then — before there was time for something else to steal our attention away — I had her help me search the house for anything we could repurpose to use for bathroom recycling bins. We came up with this:

We also enjoy taping inspirational notes on our bathroom mirrors for each other, so we whipped up a few encouraging recycling reminders:

Getting Creative

To keep our DIY streak going, we made these great All Wrapped Up Vases from recyclable bathroom products with instructions from Care To Recycle:

We used empty bottles from our recycling bin and made sure they were rinsed and dried. Then we:

  1. Started wrapping yarn from the bottom of the bottle.
  2. Secured yarn with glue dots (or you could use craft glue) and continued wrapping yarn up to the top of the bottle.
  3. Kept pulling yarn tight as we wrapped going up the bottle until it was fully covered.

To create stripes or designs, you could switch the yarn color as you go up the bottle. When you are done, let the glue dry. Easy and adorable!

Always Learning

As I try to steer my family in the direction of recycling in the bathroom, I’ve stumbled upon some helpful resources:

So far, so good on recycling more in the bathroom. I may still occasionally leave the house with my shirt on backward or forget the lunch on the counter, but with the help of my kids, our recyclable bathroom products are no longer headed for a landfill.

Editor’s Note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. Care To Recycle is one of these partners.

Feature image: Shutterstock

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Wendy Gabriel

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer based in California. Wendy's work has been featured in numerous publications and websites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox Business News and Mashable.com. For nearly six years, she was a weekly contributor on a popular radio talk show in the Upper Midwest with a segment titled “Simple Tips for Green Living.”