Shampoo bottles get plenty of attention in commercials, on glossy magazine pages, and atop store shelves, but when it comes to finding them in recycling bins, they’re often forgotten. Why is the humble hair-cleaning container so neglected?

It turns out that many consumers are unaware that you can even recycle shampoo bottles. Due to that misunderstanding, the statistics are staggering when it comes to how little these plastic bottles are thought about when recycling. For instance, did you know that…

  • more than 552 million bottles could be ending up in landfills every year?
  • the number of shampoo bottles thrown out in the United States every year could fill 1,164 football fields?
  • only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle items from the bathroom?

While most people assume that they can’t recycle shampoo bottles if there is any liquid residue left in the bottle, that’s not the case. Not only can you recycle these plastic containers the same as you would a plastic water bottle or similar style container, but there are actually tons of cool things you can do with the bottles, as Tumblr page demonstrates.

A few suggestions to reduce, reuse and recycle shampoo bottles include:

  • REDUCE your overall use. Thankfully for your sake — and for the sake of those around you — this doesn’t mean showering less often. You can reduce the amount of plastic containers used by buying big value-sized bottles. A few large containers a year is ultimately more sustainable than several smaller ones, and you’ll save money with this strategy, too.
  • REUSE them in a creative way. The durable plastic from shampoo bottles makes for some great repurposing possibilities. For a practical project, simply fill an empty shampoo bottle with water and turn it into a homemade brick for a toilet cistern. If you’re feeling really crafty, check out these fresh ideas on Pinterest for ways to transform your shampoo bottles into everything from cellphone charging stations, home décor and sink caddies to plastic purses, flower vases and time-saving gardening tools.
  • RECYCLE your bottles. After a quick rinse, check the bottom of the bottle for a triangle or other recycling symbol that indicates what type of other plastic category you can group the bottle into. Most will be plastics #1 and #2, which are commonly accepted by recyclers. Then simply put it out for curbside pickup or take it to your nearest recycling center.

Starting a recycling routine is simple, and it only gets easier every time you do it. Whether you’re the sole recycling champion in your family like the superhero in this video, or you’re just looking to find a better solution for disposing of your shampoo bottles, check out for tips and tools that can help make it more convenient for your family.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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. Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies is one of these partners.

By Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of publications, covering everything from sustainability to fitness to travel. Read more of her work here.