How to Keep Summer Plastics out of Landfills

As summer is coming to a close, you may be left with empty sunscreen bottles, broken pool noodles, and other discarded plastics. Now what do you do with these summer items? I’m going to give you some suggestions.


empty sunscreen bottle

Look on the bottom of the sunscreen bottle. If the number is either 1 or 2 it is recyclable. However, sunscreen tubes are mostly made from number 4 plastics, which are not readily recyclable. Please search number 4 and your zip code here to find facilities that collect this type of plastic. Contact them to see if you can drop off or send your tubes to the facility.

As for aerosol cans – both sunscreen and bug spray – are recyclable as long as they are empty.


inflatable rafts

They are fun to float around in, but once popped they will end up in the landfill. Even worse they are made of PVCs. (Hint: Just remember, “don’t buy #3, say no to PVC!”). If you sprung a leak, try to patch it up using these simple steps. The best tip for these is to say no to PVCs and float on your own.


pool noodles

They are made from polyethelene foam, which is not recyclable. However, here are a few ways to reuse them:

  • Stuff them into your handbags or boots to keep their shape.
  • Attach as a circle and decorate to make a handmade wreath.
  • Slice down the center and tape to the fireplace hearth or other sharp edges for a temporary baby bumper.

Think outside the pool!

Umbrellas and Chairs

beach umbrella and chair

The wind can take a toll on umbrellas, and being a beach bum can wear out your chair. I’ve discovered from my friends at my local recycling center, that as long as the metal is separated from the plastic and/or cloth they are both recyclable!


beach toys

Has your child outgrown their beach toys? Donate them to a local organization or give them to a friend.

Flip Flops

flip flops

These summer staples get a good amount of wear and tear during the summer. If your flip flops have seen better days start a collection and send them to Terracycle, who will take all that old rubber and upcycle it into new products.

Hope you had a wonderful summer!

Leave a Reply