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Can You Recycle Mouthwash Bottles? A Helpful Guide

Recycle MouthwashShort answer? Yes, you can absolutely recycle mouthwash bottles! But, let’s get a little more specific. 

Most mouthwash bottles are made out of plastic, which can be recycled. But, before you toss that empty mouthwash in the recycling bin, take a look at the bottom. 

You’ll see a number that represents the type of plastic your bottle is made with. This helps you decide if/how your mouthwash bottle can be recycled.

What is the Recycling Number on Mouthwash Bottles?

Recycle symbolRecycling numbers are a uniform method of classifying the various kinds of plastics available.  The numbers are meant to help recyclers sort out the recyclables.  Only numbers inside the recycling symbol are used for recycling purposes. 

Most mouthwash bottles are Plastic #1, also known as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET).  Plastic #1 can be recycled into tote bags, carpet, furniture, fiber, polar fleece, and more.  It can be picked up by the majority of curbside recycling services, but verify with your city’s guidelines to make sure.

Can You Recycle the Cap with Mouthwash Bottles?

Mouthwash CapAssuming that the mouthwash bottle is plastic, it is important to remove the cap and throw it out before recycling your mouthwash.  Even though most caps are also made of plastic, they are usually made from a different kind of plastic than the mouthwash bottle.  The caps have a higher melting point and can destroy an entire load of recyclable plastic if they get recycled with mouthwash bottles.

Upcycle Your Mouthwash Bottles

Creative Ways to Reuse Mouthwash Bottles

There are so many fun, alternative ways to reuse your mouthwash bottles! You can turn many of these into an interactive, family activity that the kids will love.

  • Cut the top off the bottle and use it as a scoop for a sandbox or a bathtub.
  • Decorate it by painting it or wrapping it in colorful paper and turning it into a cup holder. 
  • Cut off the top, decorate it, hang it against a wall outlet, and turn it into a phone holder while you charge your phone.

Tips to Recycle More in the Bathroom

If you and your family are trying to recycle more often, you can take the following measures to make sure your bathroom is more recycle-friendly.

  • Put a recycle bin in the bathroom for added convenience
  • Educate your children on the importance of recycling 
  • Make it fun by turning it into a game or rewarding the child that recycles “the most” in a given week
  • Squash your plastic bottles to create more room in your recycle bin.  You will have to empty it less often.

What are the Benefits of recycling a Mouthwash Bottle?

There are many different benefits to recycling a mouthwash bottle.  

  • Help save space in landfills: Mouthwash bottles are not biodegradable and end up staying in landfills for years. 
  • Prevent them from ending up in bodies of water: An overwhelming amount of plastic is harmful to animals that live in the oceans. 
  • Reduces Greenhouse Gas emissions:  When plastic is manufactured, greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, are created. When you recycle plastic bottles, your carbon emissions are reduced because much fewer fossil fuels are required to make new plastic.   
  • Decreases pollution rates: The more landfills get filled with waste, the more toxic air pollutants are released into the air. Plastic in landfills can leak into soil and groundwater. 
  • Uses less natural resources, such as oil: The Environmental Protection Agency states that every time a ton of plastic is recycled, about 3.8 barrels of crude oil is saved.
  • Helps cut costs and save you money in the long run: Waste management is very expensive to keep up with.  Routinely dumping in landfills and incinerating trash can cost a lot of money.  However, a recycling facility is much more cost-effective to operate.  Therefore, the more you support recycling, the more money you are putting into the more cost-effective industry.

Does recycling bathroom products make a difference?


Yes! Recycling saves energy and space in landfills. Also, if more materials are recycled, more businesses will have access to those recyclables so they can create products out of them. This will ultimately help save resources and the environment. 

Recycling bathroom products such as mouthwash bottles can also help you save the world by slowing down global warming. 

 It’s estimated that the amount of energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle can power a computer for 25 minutes. One pound of recycled plastic No. 1, about the weight of your shoe, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent during the manufacturing process while recycling one ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.

You are also helping to create more jobs by recycling your mouthwash bottles.  In 2011, over 2.3 million individuals worked in the recycling business.  That number continues to grow every year.  The more you recycle, the more jobs there are available for employees such as the facility operators and label designers.  For every one job available in waste management, there are four jobs available in the recycling industry.   When you look at all of the employees that are employed at companies that create products out of recycled products, you are helping secure even more jobs.


About 80% of Americans have easy access to recycling programs such as curbside pickup, drop off sites, or through universities.  Truly, there is no reason for you not to be recycling your mouthwash bottles and other products if you fall within that 80%.

Works Referenced:

The 9 Benefits of Recycling Water Bottles and Managing Waste Better

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