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How to recycle laundry detergent packaging?

In our product research, we tested different types of packaging for laundry detergent. Here's a quick guide on the popular materials and how to recycle them correctly to avoid plastic waste.

1. Laundry powder cardboard boxes

Surely, the laundry powder cardboard boxes are recyclable? 

Like the takeaway coffee cups, most of these cardboard boxes are coated in a plastic layer. The plastic layer protects the products from leaking and humidity, but it makes the cardboard box hard to recycle.

How to dispose it:

Check both inside and outside the box. If the surface is shiny, it's laminated with plastic. Or rip the cardboard and see if it's layered.

If it’s not laminated, dispose it in the recycling bin. If it’s laminated, you can still check with your local recycling facility – they might have a machine that can separate the plastic lining, though the chance would be very minimal.

2. Laundry liquid plastic bottles

Laundry liquid is stored in thick, hard plastic containers that are mostly made from PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) or HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene).

Here are some tips for you:

Tip 1: Buy ultra-concentrated detergent in big volume. Use the recommended dosage. This will help you buy less. Buying less means you'll bin less.

Tip 2: Reuse, Reuse, Reuse! These bottles are durable and can last a lifetime. Buy toxin-free laundry liquid so that you can re-purpose the bottle safely. DIY & Crafts has some fun ideas. 

Tip 3: Recycling, the last option! Don't forget to rinse the bottle, remove the cap before recycling.


Recycling should be the last option. Period.

Most plastic can only be recycled for a few times. Recycling only delays, rather than prevents. Adding to this is the cost and energy to transport and recycle them. Reusing is more sustainable long term.

3. Refill pouches

We're all for refill as it essentially reuses all ready-made resources, meaning no new products are needed to be made again.

However, most refill pouches are made from plastic. As much as they are reusable, they may have a short life span through wear and tear. At the end of life, they might be hard to recycle. The plastic cap that's attached the pouch would also add up to the complexity of recycling.

We think unless we know for sure they don't wear and tear quickly, can be sanitised safely, and can be recycled easily, we'd put on hold using the option.

4. Aluminium containers 

Aluminium is light weight and is one of the most recycled materials. However, corrosion occurs in environment where pH is very high or very low, or at high potentials in electrolytes with high chloride concentrations. 

In other words, aluminium material shouldn't be used for laundry detergent at all.

5. Laundry pods or strips

There have been many cases of children ingesting the colourful laundry pods. If you have children, we don’t recommend this option at all.

Alternatively, laundry strips have not had any poisoning of children reported, and while we don't have personal experience with them, reviews so far have been positive. 


Our solution: refillable laundry powder in glass jars

Plus, delivered to your door. We refill and deliver a laundry powder and a dishwasher powder, proudly made by SimplyClean from Lismore, NSW. SimplyClean has been committed to making truly eco-friendly products for more than a decade.

Both products are loved by our customers, especially families with young children. We collect your empty glass jar and deliver your refill to help reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions. Shop here

Danling Xiao