Can you Recycle Laundry Detergent Bottles?

For most of us, laundry day is usually once a week or once in two weeks; either way, laundry is something we all have to do often. Unfortunately, it also means that we would be burning through a substantial amount of laundry detergent.

Typically, most people prefer to use liquid detergent because it doesn’t acquire clumps if the bottle or pack is left open, it mixes pretty quickly with the water in the machine and removes tough stains on time.

Our favorite brands of detergents typically come in bottles, and since we do our laundry more often than not, we are guaranteed to burn through a substantial amount of detergent in a month. But, of course, we won’t store these bottles forever, so we need a way to dispose of them.

This is why we cooked up this blog post – to enlighten you on ways to safely dispose of your laundry detergent bottles without harming the environment. Of course, recycling is always the priority; however, we will also provide fun tips for reusing and repurposing these bottles. So please, read up and stay informed.

Are Laundry Detergent Bottles Recyclable?

If we want to determine if an item is recyclable, we must first consider what materials manufacturers make it from. For instance, laundry detergent bottles are made from plastics, and plastics are generally recyclable, so it is safe to say that you can recycle laundry detergent bottles.

However, it is not all bottles that are made from plastic that you can recycle. The purpose of recycling is to reuse, right? So certain bottles like pesticide bottles, chemical bottles and bottles that once contained liquids like engine oil cannot be recycled.

Why’s that? Because they contained toxic chemicals and liquids, and the chances that there are still leftovers in the bottles are usually there. Recycling these bottles with other plastic containers can contaminate all the other plastics and render them useless.

Sometimes, some of these plastics end up serving as items like Tupperware, plastic water bottles and other things that will come in contact with our food or water at some point. So to ensure our safety, bottles that have held dangerous substances cannot be recycled or have to be recycled separately.

Thankfully, our laundry detergent bottles don’t fall in that category. However, here’s what you can do when you want to recycle these bottles. First, ensure you rinse them out entirely before you dry them off and load them to the recycling center.

Rinsing out the bottles isn’t necessary; however, you can do it to make recycling easier.

You may also need to inquire if your recycling center accepts laundry detergent bottles, even though they most certainly should. However, if they don’t, you can simply use a recycling locator to find the nearest recycling center that does.

Can you Recycle Laundry Detergent Boxes?

Much as we’d like to recycle everything we don’t want anymore, we cannot always recycle them because not every material can be recycled. For instance, our laundry detergent boxes cannot be recycled, and there is a perfectly logical reason for that.

Why can’t we recycle laundry detergent boxes? It’s simple. Because as much as they seem like they would be easy to recycle because they are made from cardboard material, the reverse is the case.

You cannot recycle laundry detergent boxes because they are made from a combination of materials. Of course, when recycling, materials made from similar products are recycled together. For instance, paper items are recycled with paper, and the same goes for plastics.

Now, one of the materials that cannot align with this recycling requirement is our laundry detergent box. The box is made from cardboard material as well as plastic too. Essentially, the boxes are made from cardboard lined with plastic. Not only that, most of them have plastic strips on them that make them easy to open.

If you are wondering the point of lining these boxes with plastic, it is to keep moisture out of the boxes. If water seeps into them, the detergent inside can get clumpy or even get soaked entirely. This is a reasonable preventive method because laundry detergent boxes will sometimes come in contact with water, especially when you are doing your laundry or attempting to sort through your dirty clothes.

At this point, the best you can do is to dispose of the boxes in the bin. Unfortunately, it will end up at a landfill and eventually decompose; it just might take a while.

Do you need to Rinse Laundry Detergent Bottles before Recycling?

Well, it is entirely up to you to choose to rinse out your bottles or not. You may choose to rinse out the bottles or not; however, just ensure that you try to take out all the detergent in the bottle before taking them to the recycling center.

Although you don’t absolutely have to, rinsing out the bottles will certainly make recycling easier.

Can you Recycle Laundry Detergent Bottles for Money?

Actually, you can, and it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks. Most times, items like bottles have special rewards on ground for you if you choose to recycle them. This is because they are made from plastic, and as such, ought to be recycled.

If plastic bottles are disposed of carelessly, they tend to harm the environment. First, they are made from plastic, so they will end up releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere. Beyond that, they cannot be broken down, so they will just end up taking up space at landfills for several decades.

So, as an incentive of some sort, if you take your old laundry detergent bottles to the recycling center, then it is quite possible that you will be paid a few bucks. However, most times, payment is based on the weight of the bottles. Therefore, your bottles have to meet up with a recommended minimum weight before you qualify for payment.

This is a terrific way for you to make a few extra bucks. Your friends and family may also benefit from this, so don’t hesitate to tell them.

However, you may have some problems finding a suitable recycling center to pay you for your bottles. So be persistent, and keep searching until you find one. And don’t forget to employ the help of the internet.

Do you need to remove Labels before Recycling?

Choosing to remove the labels on your detergent bottles before recycling them is entirely up to you. It certainly isn’t mandatory, and it makes little to no difference in what is being recycled, so you can leave the labels on the bottles if you choose to.

Here’s why. Recycling plastics requires applying heat at a very high temperature and burning the plastics until they reach their melting point. So at one point or the other, the labels on the plastics will eventually melt off.

The labels aren’t strong enough or bulky enough to influence or contaminate the other materials in the recycling machine, so you don’t have to worry about removing labels before recycling.

5 Ways to Reuse Old Laundry Detergent Bottles

As much as we would love to recycle our plastic items, there’s a big but. Most recycled plastics end up being used just once or two more times before they eventually have to be disposed of.

So why not repurpose your plastic items like your old laundry detergent bottles before finally toting them to the recycling center? We have some awesome crafts you can carry out yourself, so, dive in!

1. Flower Pots

The best part about being a gardener is that you can fashion a flower pot out of almost anything. Instead of recycling your old detergent bottles or throwing them in the trash, you can choose to turn them into flower pots.

They have just enough depth for flowers to grow appropriately. First, you need to cut off the narrow part of the bottle. Then, you can use a scorching knife that will slide right through. Next, fill these bottles with some soil from your garden and plant your seeds in them.

You can spruce things up by attaching long ropes to them and hanging them at systematic parts of your house. They make great and aesthetically appealing designs.

2. Makeshift Ladle

We bet you didn’t know you could turn your old laundry detergent bottles into makeshift ladles. You can use these ladles to scoop large amounts of grains, dog food and even soil off the ground. Nothing is entirely useless, and this tip is proof of that.

Heat a sharp knife, and when it is hot enough, slide it right through the narrow part of the bottle. Be sure to leave the handle, or part of it, attached to the bottle.

3. Refill

If you know how to make homemade detergents, you can save your old detergent bottles to use as containers later on. Homemade detergent is relatively easy to make; just be sure to follow the instructions you are given carefully.

When you make them, you can simply pour them into your old detergent bottles. If you also happen to buy detergent that comes in a nylon package or a box, you can transfer it into your old bottles.

4. Organizers

You can also repurpose your old detergent bottles into organizers. As usual, heat a sharp knife and cut off the narrow part of the bottle. You can now place items like buttons, screws and bolts, and typically other small things that tend to hide from you when you need them.

Aside from ensuring that they are always within reach when you need them, it also helps you free up space and leave things more organized. You now have a couple of containers for items that you would have ordinarily left lying around.

5. Change Jar

Some days, we need a few coins to tip off the mailman or the delivery man. Other days, these coins act as lifesavers in that we can add them together to make up enough money to pay for things like pizza, a cab and so on.

There are various reasons you need a change jar, so why not make one? It will definitely save you the few bucks that you would otherwise spend acquiring one at the supermarket.

You can choose not to slice off any part of the bottle; it depends on how wide the cover is. If it is wide enough for you to drop a few coins through, then you may leave it that way.


It is fast becoming a necessity for us to dispose of our waste materials in a manner that will ensure the safety of our environment. Of course, recycling waste products is the safest way. However, there are several other ways to dispose of these materials, and we have brought these ideas to your fingertips.

So please, read up and stay informed.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.