The folks at Johnson & Johnson, New Jersey-based purveyor of bandages, baby powder, and Bengay, doesn’t think that Americans are recycling enough in the bathroom (get your mind out of the gutter, you know what I’m talking about).

And they’ve got a good point.

While there’s long been an overwhelming amount of chatter about going green in the loo, most of it revolves around water conservation whether it means investing in low-flow or LED-embedded showerheads, installing a dual-flush toilet, or lathering up with a consenting partner instead of solo. Many of us also tend to dwell on the eco-friendliness of the cleaning products that are used to keep our porcelain thrones and tubs sparkling. This is all fine and good but often recycling, even in households where empties usually make their way to the proper bins, plays second or third fiddle to other bathroom-related concerns.

Having discovered that only one in five Americans recycle spent items that normally live in the bathroom (shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles, body wash and liquid soap containers, toilet paper rolls, etc.) despite seven out of 10 Americans claiming to be avid household recyclers, Johnson & Johnson has launched Care to Recycle. This “gentle reminder” of an awareness campaign aims to remind people that use the bathroom on occasion (all of us) that many of the items that we use while cleanin’ up and gettin’ pretty can be recycled instead of thrown in the trash.

Care to Recycle was built on Tumblr and Johnson & Johnson, the company behind a ton of names encountered in bathrooms and medicine cabinets such as Aveeno, Neutrogena, Listerine, and Tylenol, states that this is the first “recycling awareness campaign of its kind” to be hosted exclusively on the newly Yahoo-owned microblogging/social networking site commonly associated with kitten videos and nude selfies.


Explains Paulette Frank, VP of Sustainability for the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies: “Because many of our personal care products are used or stored in the bathroom, we wanted to understand if Americans are recycling there. After reviewing the results of the research, we saw a very real opportunity to help reduce waste by educating people about recyclable bathroom items. With its active community of highly engaged content seekers, Tumblr seemed like the ideal platform to help spread the word about recycling in the smallest room of the house and how it can make a big difference to our planet.”

The research that Frank refers to was conducted by the most-excellent Shelton Group, the sustainability-focused marketing/advertising firm out of Knoxville that birthed Rip the Drip. Shelton Group’s research found that 40 percent of Americans don’t recycle in the bathroom at all. Twenty-two percent of these non-recyclers reported that they “hadn’t thought about it” while 20 percent admit that they were unaware that those empty bottles of Dr. Bronner's and T-Gel Shampoo can indeed be recycled.

Head on over to the Care to Recycle campaign page to learn more about why and how you should go about recycling in the loo. And also be sure to check out the bathroom recycling infographic from Johnson & Johnson that I've embedded below.

Are you already pretty mindful about recycling those empty body oil and baby power bottles or did you tend to chuck ‘em in the trash?

Personally, I’ve always been pretty vigilant about keeping my empty bath and grooming products out of trash and recycling bins. A lot of the products that I use on a daily basis are from Kiehl’s which has an awesome in-house recycling program. After I’ve finished off a bottle of astringent or a tube of shaving cream or hair wax or whatnot, I take it into my local Kiehl’s store and hand it over for a stamp on my Recycle and Rewarded Card. Once I’ve earned enough stamps, I get free products (sadly, the rewards aspect of the program was recently downgraded).

Freebie-motivated bathroom recycling? Hey, it works for me. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Survey finds that most Americans are lousy at recycling in the loo
Johnson & Johnson launches a new recycling campaign after discovering that most Americans fail to keeping spent bath and body products out of the trash.