Recycling in the laundry roomThere seems to be a lot of confusion about what we can and cannot recycle. The laundry room can get confusing because we use a number of products that come in plastic containers. Plastics seem to be especially bothersome because different types of plastic require different processing to be made into a raw material that can be reused. Just because there is a recycling symbol on a plastic container doesn’t mean it can be recycled, so be sure you know what plastics are accepted at your local recycling center. But it does seem no matter where you live, plastic number 1 and number 2 are widely accepted for recycling. The reason is these plastics are some of the simplest and most common plastics to recycle. Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) is the type of plastic given the number 1 designation. These include water bottles, soda bottles and medicine containers. Plastic number 2 is high-density polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE makes up heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches. When recycling your laundry bottles (detergents, fabric softeners and bleaches), make sure you remove the lids. They are made from a different plastic than the bottle itself, so they can’t be recycled together. Most recycling centers do not take plastic lids for recycling, but many of them can be recycled at your local Aveda Salon. Also, make sure to give your bottles a little rinse. During the recycling process, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains, the plastics are washed and ground into small flakes at a reclaiming facility, so it’s not necessary to go overboard on washing out your container. But a little rinse helps keep things cleaner during the sorting process. According to the American Chemistry Council, “The recycling of plastic bottles reached a record high of nearly 2.5 billion pounds in 2009. The pounds of post-consumer plastic bottles collected and recycled in the United States have grown every year since 1990, and bottles remain one of the most widely recycled types of plastics.” But, according to the EPA only 7% of the total plastic waste generated in 2009 was recovered for recycling. We need to do better. For an inventive way to reuse laundry bottles, check out Garage Storage from the Laundry Room.