Are Plastic Shower Curtains Recyclable?

Plastic shower curtains are a convenient and affordable way to add a touch of style to your bathroom while protecting your floor from getting wet. But when it’s time to replace your shower curtain, you may be wondering if you can recycle it or if it just ends up in a landfill. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Most plastic shower curtains can be recycled, but you’ll need to check if your local recycling program accepts them.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about recycling plastic shower curtains. We’ll start by looking at the different types of plastic used to make shower curtains and whether they can be recycled. Next, we’ll provide tips on how to tell if your specific shower curtain is recyclable based on labels and markings. We’ll also give you information on how and where to recycle shower curtains in your community. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of this surprisingly complex sustainability issue.

Different Types of Plastic Used in Shower Curtains

When it comes to shower curtains, plastic is the most commonly used material. However, not all plastics are created equal. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of plastic used in shower curtains:

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is one of the most widely used materials in shower curtains. It is a type of plastic that is known for its durability and resistance to water. PVC shower curtains are often affordable and easy to clean, making them a popular choice for many households. However, it is important to note that PVC is not easily recyclable and can release harmful chemicals during production and disposal.


Polyester is another common type of plastic used in shower curtains. It is known for its strength and resistance to mildew. Polyester shower curtains are often more eco-friendly than PVC curtains, as they can be recycled and are less likely to release harmful chemicals. Additionally, polyester shower curtains come in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing you to find one that matches your bathroom decor.

Polyethylene (PE)

Polyethylene is a versatile plastic that is often used in shower curtains. It is known for its flexibility and resistance to water. PE shower curtains are lightweight and easy to install, making them a convenient choice for many homeowners. Additionally, polyethylene is recyclable, making it a more sustainable option compared to PVC.


Nylon is a strong and durable plastic that is sometimes used in shower curtains. It is resistant to mildew and can withstand high levels of moisture. Nylon shower curtains are often more expensive than PVC or polyester curtains, but they are also more durable and long-lasting. While nylon is not as commonly used as PVC or polyester, it is still a viable option for those looking for a high-quality shower curtain.

It is important to consider the type of plastic used in your shower curtain, as it can have an impact on both its durability and environmental impact. While PVC curtains may be more affordable, they are not easily recyclable and can release harmful chemicals. On the other hand, polyester and polyethylene curtains are more eco-friendly options that can be recycled and are less likely to release harmful substances.

When it comes to disposing of your old shower curtain, it is always best to check with your local recycling facilities to see if they accept plastic shower curtains. If they do not, consider repurposing the curtain or donating it to a local shelter or organization.

How to Tell if Your Shower Curtain is Recyclable

If you’re wondering whether your plastic shower curtain can be recycled, there are a few key factors to consider. By examining labels and understanding the materials used, you can determine whether your shower curtain is recyclable or not. Here are some tips to help you out:

1. Check Labels for Recycle Codes

Start by checking the labels on your shower curtain for any recycle codes. These codes are usually represented by a number inside a triangle of arrows. The number indicates the type of plastic used in the shower curtain. Not all plastics are recyclable, so look for codes like 1, 2, or 5, which are commonly accepted in recycling programs.

Plastics labeled with a “1” are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and are widely accepted for recycling. These include items like water bottles and food containers. Plastics labeled with a “2” are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and can be recycled into products like detergent bottles and plastic lumber. Plastics labeled with a “5” are made of polypropylene (PP) and can be recycled into items like storage bins and automotive parts.

2. Look for Special Recycling Labels

In addition to recycle codes, some shower curtains may have special recycling labels. These labels often indicate that the shower curtain is made from recycled materials or can be recycled after use. Look for labels such as “Made from Recycled Materials” or “Recyclable” to determine if your shower curtain can be recycled.

It’s important to note that not all shower curtains will have these special recycling labels. If yours doesn’t, don’t worry! You can still check for other indicators of recyclability.

3. Consider Weight and Texture

Another way to determine if your shower curtain is recyclable is by considering its weight and texture. Most recyclable shower curtains tend to be lightweight and have a smooth texture. These characteristics make it easier for them to be processed and recycled into new products.

On the other hand, shower curtains that are heavy, thick, or have a textured surface may not be recyclable. These types of curtains are often made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or other non-recyclable plastics. It’s best to avoid putting these curtains in your recycling bin and instead dispose of them properly.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your local recycling program or waste management facility to see if they accept shower curtains for recycling. Some areas may have specific guidelines or restrictions, so it’s best to double-check before recycling.

By following these tips, you can easily determine if your plastic shower curtain is recyclable or not. Remember to always reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible to contribute to a more sustainable future!

How to Recycle Plastic Shower Curtains

Plastic shower curtains are a common household item that often ends up in the trash. However, did you know that many plastic shower curtains can actually be recycled? Recycling your shower curtains is not only good for the environment but also helps to reduce waste in landfills. Here are a few ways you can recycle your plastic shower curtains:

Curbside Pickup

Some municipalities offer curbside pickup for recyclable materials, including plastic shower curtains. Check with your local waste management department to see if they accept plastic shower curtains in their recycling program. If they do, simply follow their guidelines for preparing and placing your shower curtains at the curb for pickup. This is a convenient option for those who want to recycle their shower curtains without having to leave their home.

Drop-off Locations

If curbside pickup is not available in your area, you can look for drop-off locations where you can bring your plastic shower curtains for recycling. Many recycling centers, community centers, or even retail stores have designated bins for plastic recycling. These drop-off locations are typically easy to find and provide a convenient way to dispose of your shower curtains responsibly. Be sure to clean and dry your shower curtains before dropping them off to ensure they can be recycled properly.

Special Collection Events

Another option for recycling your plastic shower curtains is to take advantage of special collection events. These events are often organized by local municipalities or environmental organizations and provide an opportunity for residents to dispose of hard-to-recycle items, such as plastic shower curtains. Keep an eye out for announcements or advertisements for these events in your community. It’s a great way to get rid of your old shower curtains while also supporting sustainable waste management practices.

Remember, recycling plastic shower curtains not only helps to reduce waste but also conserves resources and energy. By giving your shower curtains a second life, you are contributing to a more sustainable future. So, the next time you replace your shower curtain, don’t just toss it in the trash – recycle it!

Alternatives to Recycling Plastic Shower Curtains


Instead of throwing away your old plastic shower curtain, consider donating it to a local charity or shelter. Many organizations are in need of basic household items and would gladly accept your gently used shower curtain. You might be surprised at how much of a positive impact your donation can have on someone’s life.


If your plastic shower curtain is still in good condition, why not reuse it? There are several ways you can repurpose it around your home. For example, you can use it as a drop cloth for messy DIY projects, as a protective cover for outdoor furniture, or even as a temporary cover for items during storage. Get creative and think outside the box!

Upcycle Projects

If you’re feeling crafty, there are countless upcycling projects that can turn your old plastic shower curtain into something new and useful. For instance, you can cut it into smaller pieces and use them as waterproof liners for planters or as a protective layer for your workspace when painting. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll not only be reducing waste but also adding a unique touch to your home.

Remember, the key is to be mindful of the environment and find alternative solutions to recycling plastic shower curtains. By donating, reusing, or upcycling, you can make a positive impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.


As we’ve seen, determining if a plastic shower curtain is recyclable can be complicated due to the many different types of plastics used. But the good news is that more and more recycling programs are expanding the types of plastics they accept, making it easier to keep shower curtains out of landfills. With some research into your local recycling policies and a close inspection of your shower curtain’s labels, you can likely find an earth-friendly way to dispose of it responsibly. And when it’s time to buy a new shower curtain, look for recycled or biodegradable options to reduce plastic waste from the start.

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