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Inspiring Change in the Bathroom: Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine.

My bathroom is loaded with stuff. At this very moment, there are 10 bottles of “product” in my shower alone. (Seriously, I counted.) My husband and I use different body washes, different shampoos, different conditioners—okay, fine, all of the conditioners are mine—nevertheless, it’s excessive... Then there’s the vast array of baby-and-toddler-only items occupying valuable bathtub real estate. And don’t even get me started on the lotions, potions, perfumes, and creams on my vanity. It’s a veritable department-store beauty counter in our powder room.

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I guess you could say we’re high maintenance around here. (But, on the upside, we keep ourselves very clean!) And while smelling fresh, feeling healthy, and looking good is of the utmost importance, I never really thought about the larger “consequences” of our highly hygienic habits.

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What’s that supposed to mean? Well, I’m ashamed to admit it, but in our house, when we’re done with a product (and we do go through them fast!), we chuck the packaging without a second thought. Like 86 percent of Americans, I recycle. But I’m not one of the 34 percent who say they actually bring their empty bath and beauty bottles to the recycling bin. This startling statistic means that nearly 600 million plastic bottles could end up in landfills each year.

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Recycling has always been a given in the kitchen and at my desk, but not in the bathroom. I guess I’ve never been totally clear on what bathroom products qualify as recyclable—and I’m not alone. Forty-two percent of Americans say they’re confused about this very thing. And 27 percent of us aren’t entirely convinced our recycled items will actually become something new. But the truth is: That empty shampoo bottle can take on new life and return as a hairbrush, a backpack, or even a backyard play set!

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To spark conversation and incite change,Unilever, the makers of Dove, St. Ives, Caress, and Suave, is launching “Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine.” It’s a new program in partnership with Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council designed to educate people about recycling in the bathroom, inspire them to reimagine what empty bathroom products could become through recycling, and ultimately make a small change that holds big potential to positively impact the environment.

Sounds great and all, but what are the first steps we (myself included) can take to actually change old habits? For me, it’s as simple as putting a separate bin in the bathroom for recyclables. (Truth is: One in five Americans admits that they wouldn’t walk across their home just to recycle a bath or beauty product.) Convenience wins—so I’m making the task a bit easier. No more excuses.

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Unilever wants to incentivize Americans to take action with the brightFuture initiative. It’s all about taking baby steps for the greater good—whether that means wasting less, sharing more, turning off the tap, turning on community activism or, simply, recycling. Everyone has a role to play in creating a brighter future.

So say it with me: “Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine”… And maybe put a second bin in the bathroom. Let’s do this together.

Share a photo of your bathroom empties being recycled on Twitter and Instagram using #ReimagineThat. Add #Sweeps to your post to be entered for a chance to win recycled, reimagined prizes.

*Statistics taken from Unilever Bathroom Recycling Index, an online survey commissioned by Unilever and conducted by KRC Research.

This post is sponsored by Unilever. All opinions are our own.

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