Reduce, reuse, repair, then recycle - how to put that shampoo bottle you have to better use

Reduce. Reuse. Repair. Recycle. ♻️ 

In the quest to do more using less remembering those four "R's" - in that specific order - can really help.

Most folks in the UK know that they should recycle what they can.

Nationwide, local councils have encouraged recycling using the blunt, but effective, use of rubbish collection policies to ensure that.

However not everyone thinks about the first three "R's" when trying to minimise their impact on the environment.

So, let's explore all for "R's" in more detail, using the example of a humble (totally unnecessary) shampoo bottle...

"R" one: Reduce

Buying less will immediately reduce your impact on the environment. Less "stuff" equals fewer things that need to be made, transported, stored, sold, used and disposed of on your behalf.

In the case of shampoo, buying and using less is possible but may not be the most hygienic strategy for many... so, as an alternative you could try:

  1. buying shampoo in bigger bottles - reducing the number of bottles you need to dispose of relative to the number of times you can wash your hair
  2. using a refillable shampoo bottle - reducing the number of shampoo bottles you use to one that's used over and over again will have a huge impact in terms the waste you're responsible for over your lifetime
  3. using a solid shampoo that doesn't require a bottle at all - no bottle equals no manufacturing, filling, storing, transporting, using or disposing of. No wasted resources at all.


"R" two: Reuse

As touched on above; refilling a shampoo bottle with shampoo will allow you to reuse the same bottle over and over again.

You don't have to limit yourself to reusing them to store shampoo though. Any cleaning products or paints, or other (non-corrosive) liquids you have around the house can be decanted into a cleaned out shampoo bottle.


"R" three: Repair

In the context of shampoo, this one's less applicable... repairing a broken shampoo bottle that was designed for single use is probably not something you're likely to realistically do, we get that.

But if you have a more substantial, refillable bottle or container that's damaged repairing it would be worth considering before replacing it.

Be inspired by the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi (as JJ Abrams was for Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker) and make the repair an integral part of the bottle.


"R" four: Recycle

Circling back to where we started (see what we did there 😆) the final "R" is recycle.

At the end of its life as a shampoo bottle instead of tossing it in the bin, think about how to recycle or up-cycle it.

The obvious option is to put it in your recycling bin for collection by the aforementioned rubbish collection services (after checking that the materials used to make said shampoo bottle are in fact recyclable in your area. Unfortunately not all are 😞).

Other options are available with a little creative thinking though.

A quick google will help you discover all sorts of different ways of recycling and up-cycling your shampoo bottle. Some, admittedly, more successful than others...

See these examples:


Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle

So there you have it, the four "R's" that help you to do more using less in the context of washing your hair.

Thinking about how they apply to all the things we each consume should be the goal, but you have to start somewhere, so why not with your shampoo? 😊

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