This Company Makes It Easy to Recycle Your Shower Curtain

Recyclable shower curtain liner from Outlines

The Spruce / Photo Illustration by Amelia Manley / Outlines

Have you ever had to toss your shower curtain because it had grown a life of its own (literally)? That is how Outlines started. 

Co-founder Meg Murphy pondered why we have home essentials that are not clean. Why do we toss out things that are meant to keep us clean? And why do we have to throw an entire product that only needs one part renewed?

According to Outlines, shower liners not only are a haven for mold, grime, and bacteria, but they are also the largest single piece of plastic and they cannot be recycled in your household bin. Now consider that it can take up to 500 years for plastic to decompose, and you can see the problems these necessary bathroom items pose not only to health but also to our environment. Plastic accounts for more than 10 percent of all waste in the United States.

outlines shower curtain


We have all had to toss a dirty shower liner—sometimes way past the “gross” stage. It’s a necessary piece of most Americans’ bathrooms. But now we don’t have to add to the nation’s trash problem. Outlines sells goods with “responsible replenishment,” meaning their products are recyclable. And the company will pay for the recycling when the time comes. 

Outlines’ business model focuses on the product life cycle. For their new shower liner, the company has created a subscription-based service that has thought through a liner’s various stages of life with regular use. 

outlines shower curtain


You buy one of their curtains, which Murphy and the team have divided into sections in various stages of renewability. Outlines’ model, called Keep and Replen, allows for a custom configuration of how often you should need a replacement, based on several factors such as how often the shower gets used, the type of shower products you use, and the ventilation in your bathroom. 

Once you have hit a target replenishment time, the system does its thing. The curtain’s metal clips stay, as do the magnetic anchors at the bottom of the curtain. But this innovative product includes a top portion that can be removed and cleaned, and a main curtain area that can be replenished when it’s time. You just ship it back to Outlines on their dime and replace it with a new liner part. They pay for the recycling, so you know you aren’t contributing to any further plastic waste. 

outlines shower curtain bundle


Before creating Outlines, Murphy led strategy and business operations at Sugru, a patent-protected materials business. She is part of the Females Founders Collective and also an alumna of Vanderbilt University. Her partner in the venture is Luke Barkley Young, who moved to New York from London about six years ago and has a strong sales and marketing background, having managed sales to retail heavy hitters such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.

With their combined education and knowledge of how businesses should run, plus a strong interest in sustainability, the pair got to work, talking with a lot of customers about what worked and what didn’t, tweaking their plan. And they are turning heads, having recently raised $1 million in seed money from Social Impact Capital.

What's next? The company is working on some new ideas and plans to offer a line of sustainable, recyclable products, with Young saying they hope to get that in the works early this year. Their overall company goal is to “elevate these humble heroes'' that are necessary but not particularly fun to clean and are even more difficult to safely recycle.

Article Sources
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  1. Cho, Renee. What Happens to All That Plastic? Columbia Climate School, 2012.

  2. National Overview: Facts and Figures on Materials, Wastes and Recycling. United States Environmental Protection Agency.