Shower curtains and curtain liners are made of all kinds of materials. Mostly plastic, though. And, in general, polyvinyl chloride, or PVC-based, shower curtains are not recyclable. They are very difficult to break down, they emit toxins, and the quantity of recycled material you get at the end is not worth the expensive process. Plastic curtains may be plastic, but they are made of different polymers than the recyclable plastic bags. So, do not drop them off at a recycling center along with your plastic bags!
Are all plastic shower curtains non-recyclable? No – PEVA curtains can be recycled. Confusing? This is why it’s best to buy eco-friendly shower curtains and curtain liners! But what do you do in the meantime with your existing old shower curtains and liners?
What Can I Do With Old Shower Curtains?
You could reuse them, or repurpose them into something new. You could donate them to charity if they’re in good condition. Or, if all else fails, you could recycle them. Let’s find out how.
How to Reuse Old Shower Curtains and Liners
There are numerous ways you can repurpose your old shower curtains and shower liners. They’re precious materials, after all! Just make sure they’ve been cleaned properly, and are free of mold.
1 / If you have fabric shower curtains and liners, you could cut them up and use them as cleaning rags.
2 / Use plastic curtains and liners in place of tarpaulin while painting – or doing other messy stuff.
3 / Use your plastic curtain as a table cloth when you’re out camping.
Can Shower Curtains Be Donated to Charity?
Yes. If the shower curtain is something you would use yourself, then it’s in good condition to donate. Try Goodwill or Salvation Army. Also contact your local charities and ask if they will accept shower curtains as donations.
Can Shower Curtains Be Recycled?
As we mentioned before, PVC and PE plastic shower curtains cannot be recycled at most recycling plants. PVC material can expose you to chlorine and phthalates, which can cause major health issues.
Fabric shower curtains can be recycled, depending on your situation. Try these textile recycling companies.
Can You Recycle a PEVA Shower Curtain?
Yes, you can recycle a PEVA shower curtain. PEVA shower curtains and liners are chlorine-free, so they can be recycled. Make sure you inform your recycling facility before sending the PEVA curtains to them.
When Should You Throw Out a Shower Curtain?
You need to change out your shower curtain and liner once every six months. That’s the ideal time, taking bathroom mold and grime buildup into consideration. Of course, this is an individual decision, based on the realities of your bathroom and usage. But remember to wash your curtains once every month, at least.
Ok, what do you do with old curtains you don’t need anymore? Suppose you cannot donate your shower curtain. You also cannot repurpose it, or recycle it because it’s made from PVC. What do you do?
Recycle with TerraCycle
TerraCycle to the rescue! TerraCycle accepts shower curtains and liners for recycling in the Bathroom Accessories Zero Waste Box. You buy the box from them, fill it with all the stuff you want to send, and then mail it back to them. They accept a lot of bathroom items that other places do not accept for recycling. So, try them out!
Do not toss the PVC shower curtains and liners into the garbage. They will end up in the landfill, and remain there for hundreds of years.
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