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Squeezed your Head & Shoulders bottle till the last drop and wondering what to do with it? While recycling is an option, did you know that with a little bit of creativity and imagination you can turn your old shampoo bottle into a vase, container for pens, or even sprinkler? Right this way for the ‘how to’ on Head & Shoulders plastic bottle recycling and upcycling.

People collecting plastic bottles and other trash at the beach


Whether you’re new to the recycling scene or a kitchen goods recycling veteran, when it comes to bathroom goods, it can get a little tricky.

From aerosols to your toilet roll dispenser and every cotton bud in between. Bin or recycling?

While recycling food packaging and kitchen products might be more commonplace in households nowadays, how are you at navigating through those bathroom products at end of life?

If shampoo bottles fall into the unknown for you, this step-by-step guide will make sure you’re putting each element in its rightful place so you can tell your friends you have packaging separation down to a fine art.


Head & Shoulders bottles are made with HDPE, a material purposefully chosen because it’s easy to recycle. But while all our Head & Shoulders bottles (except the caps, lids & pumps) are recyclable, it’s not as simple as just tossing the empty bottle in the recycling bin. 

Instead, there are a few steps you’ll need to follow to make recycling shampoo bottles possible… 

1. First: Make sure it’s possible for the HDPE bottle to be recycled as intended. So, start by sorting all white bottles, as these can be recycled (think white milk bottles). We’re working on making our blue bottles, caps and pumps recyclable by 2030 or sooner. 

2. Next, remove the sleeve from the white HDPE bottle as this can’t be recycled. 

3. Finally, give the bottle a good rinse to remove any shampoo left in the bottle or around in the bottom.

Rain shower with water falling


Now you know how to recycle the Head & Shoulders shampoo bottle, here are a few little tips to help you cut back on packaging and step up to the recycling challenge. 

Know what goes where. Did you know that if everyone in the UK recycled one toothpaste box, it would save enough energy to power a refrigerator for over a year in 2,000 homes! From flattening toothpaste boxes and toilet roll holders to rinsing bathroom cleaners and recycling the plastic caps on aerosol cans. Knowing what goes where will help you make an even bigger positive impact on the environment. 

Make a designated recycling space for bathroom goods. It’s likely that you won’t want to line up empties somewhere visible until you have enough to take them to your main recycling bin, so pop a little basket or bin near the bathroom so you can fill that and they’re out the way, instead. 

Buy bigger bottles. If you know you can’t live without a certain product, it’s a good idea to reduce your plastic consumption by just buying the biggest bottle available so it’ll last longer and use less packaging overall. 

Keep bottle tops. Plastic bottle cap recycling isn’t yet mainstream, so collect these and if you don’t have a use for them, consider either letting your children use them for art projects, or storing them up to donate to a local school or children’s hospital where they might have a use for them. 

Upcycle. If you have packaging you can’t or don’t want to recycle, get creative and make something with it! If you’re after some inspiration, we’ve put together a guide filled with upcycling hacks. 

If you’d like to know where you can recycle a specific item, read more on what to put in your home recycling bin or find your nearest recycling locations, you can find this and more at Recycle Now. 


Upcycling has been a buzzword for the past few years, with YouTubers and Instagrammers making videos on how to repurpose anything from an old straw to a plastic bottle that would potentially otherwise end up in a landfill. 

Seeing the transformation from everyday object that might end up in the bin to something useful and beautiful is mesmerising - and might convince you to give it a go if you feel like it. 

All our Head & Shoulders HDPE shampoo bottles are recyclable (though the blue top and pump currently aren’t), so you can recycle if you want to, but if you’re wondering how to upcycle plastic bottles and you’re after some inspiration, we’ve got plenty of ideas. 

Cartoon style image with recycle bin and plastic bottles in it


Upcycling’s reusing or repurposing something to make it useful or better. So, for example, if you had an old shampoo bottle, and spray painted it one colour, cut it in half, and covered the edges in felt, you’d have an ideal make-up brush holder. The trick’s not to see what is currently there, but what might be there, with a bit of effort and imagination. 

Here’s some upcycling inspiration for your used Head & Shoulders bottles, and a playlist to help you get in the mood… 

Quick tip: Before you kick into the creativity, remove the label and since the bottle to get rid of residue. 

A vertical garden. To create the perfect holder for plants suspended from wire along a wall, all you have to do is clean out your shampoo bottle, spray paint it whichever colour you’d like it to be, cut a rectangle out of the top, then fill it with soil and seeds and watch plants spring out the top. 

A sprinkler. No paddling pool on a scorching day but desperate to cool down? No problem - just grab your bottle and pierce holes along the body of it. Next, take a hose, feed it into the neck of the bottle, and secure with masking tape. Once you’ve switched the hose on, you’ll have a sprinkler system ready to run through. 

Make-up product holder. Get your make-up stash in order - and store it all in your Head & Shoulders shampoo bottles. To make one or a series of holders for your brushes, glosses, and mascaras, start by cutting your shampoo bottle in half. Next, either paint or spray paint the bottle to a colour you like (try colour coding them if you’re making multiple ones so you can easily find the product you’re after), then apply some fabric along the rim with superglue. If you’re making a few, you can also group and glue them together to make clusters of a certain type of product. 

Pen or pencil holder. Equally, if you’ve got drawers bursting with pens and pencils, get them in order by standing them in upcycled shampoo holders. To save space, you could also mount these to the wall either by gluing them to the middle of an empty picture frame, or by gluing them directly to the surface you want them to hang off. 

A vase. This is such an easy way to make either a plain holder for a few flowers or something more out there - and it’s all in the decorating. The basic shape will stay the same: it’s a Head & Shoulders shampoo bottle, cut in half. You can take the edge and gently run it along a hot iron so the plastic softens slightly. Then all you have to do is decide how you want to decorate it. You could try tying scarves around the body of the bottle, or sticking sequins and ribbons on. Go to town, or just paint it plain. It’s completely up to you. 

A phone charging station. How often have you tripped over your phone charging cables, or had to put your phone on the floor while it charges? No more. Just draw a shape around your bottle before cutting that means you have a taller section at the back for your phone to rest on as it sits charging, decorate, and you’ll have the perfect solution to charging your phone without damaging it - or yourself by falling over around it. 

Inspired? Here are a few videos to help you turn old bottles into useful treasures…


43 Plastic bottle recycling ideas

2 easy DIY shampoo bottle reuse ideas

How to make beautiful flower vase from empty shampoo bottle

Craft idea for shampoo bottle

37 easy organisation hacks and DIY ideas