I’m a bit ashamed to admit what I found in my kids’ bathroom trashcan.
No, it’s not what you may be thinking …
Although I occasionally get accused of stalking, and I definitely put my journalistic curiosity and skills to work keeping tabs on their whereabouts, I am usually quite “hands off” when it comes to monitoring what my kids throw away. But this is a different kind of story.
As I was heading downstairs one morning I heard water dripping. Now I prefer to stay out of the kids’ bathroom (which is not quite as bad now that my daughter is away at college; my 15-year-old son doesn’t make nearly the same mess), but I can’t let the faucet drip.
As I reached to tighten the knob, I noticed that there was a lot in the trashcan – which I wouldn’t otherwise ever see because my son is responsible for emptying it.
I was dismayed when I realized that what filled the trashcan, and what likely would have gone straight into the large outdoor trash barrel and right into the waste stream, was a pile of recyclable plastics and cardboard containers. Contact lens solution bottles, an empty plastic bottle from allergy pills, an empty eye drop bottle, the cardboard packaging from the new bottles of allergy pills and eye drops – were all about to be thrown away rather than recycled.
While many West Hartford residents may do a great job recycling “downstairs,” there are probably many recyclables to be found in the trash generated from bedrooms and bathrooms.
Here is “Recycle This, Trash That: The Bath and Bedroom Edition.”
Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, contact lens solution, hair gel, and many other products come in plastic bottles and tubes. If a plastic container has a recycling symbol #1-#7 on it, RECYCLE it.
The pump sprayers and pump mechanisms in those recyclable plastics can also be RECYCLED and should be left on. Plastic tops can be left on, too. Just be sure that they are loose enough to let air escape or poke a hole in the container so they don’t become projectiles if crushed at the recycling center.
Shaving cream cans are similar in many ways to whipped cream cans. Especially when they are empty. Empty aerosol cans (including hair spray cans) can be RECYCLED.
Most personal care products come in boxes. The boxes can be RECYCLED.
The tubes from toilet paper rolls can be RECYCLED.
Toothpaste tubes, unfortunately, have to go into the TRASH, as do the tops of the tubes and plastic tops to other non-recyclable items. So do razor handles and razorblades.
Have you shopped for new shoes lately? Gotten a new shirt that came in a box? Don’t forget to RECYCLE those boxes (break them down to save space in the barrel), as well as paper bags from department stores.
Some people might think it’s inconvenient to drag recyclables downstairs, but it’s really not that painful. I’ve been checking Pinterest and other sites, trying to get ideas for attractive and innovative “upstairs” recycling bins. Does anyone have any good suggestions?
Keep your questions coming and email them to email@example.com.
Ronni Newton is contracted as the recycling campaign editor for the Public Works Department in the Town of West Hartford. She will be providing a regular series of articles about what can and can’t be recycled, and updates about the progress of the town’s recycling initiative.