Sustainable Beauty: How To Recycle Your Beauty Products

Knowing the importance of recycling skincare and makeup wastes is essential as it helps us take care of the environment, as well as ourselves, in the best possible way. Let us guide you through the steps needed for reusing, recycling, and disposing of your beauty products and make the planet a better one.

With increasing concern about sustainability and environmental impacts among people, recycling has become an essential aspect in all levels of society. But when it comes to recycling beauty products and packages, we hardly make our voices heard. Though there is no harm in trying out every new beauty product launched in the market, doing it in a sustainable way is the key.

various empty plastic beauty bottles in a row, showing what you can recycle.

Recycling empty and unused bottles and containers are the best way to go eco-friendly with your beauty practices.

We tell you the ways to reuse, recycle, and dispose of your makeup and skincare wastes, which is better not only for the earth but also for your own conscience.

Why It’s Important to Recycle Beauty & Makeup Products

Each year, more than 29 million tons of plastic gets piled in the landfills of America, causing serious changes in climate and posing an ever-increasing threat to the planet. Roughly 45% of this trash includes various product packaging and almost 80% of this non-biodegradable waste comes from the multi-billion dollar global beauty industry.

As there is no specific ‘standard’ in place for product packaging, recycling beauty and makeup products are considered unprofitable in the current infrastructure.

Apparently, using recycled and recyclable materials for this purpose is an expensive affair. More so, it is also hard to maintain the efficacy and shelf life of the product inside an eco-friendly packaging without taking extra caution. Therefore, the bottles, jars, and tubes of beauty and grooming products are mostly made of non-recycled plastic, virgin (unused) glass, or blended materials, which are difficult to recycle.

four recycle bins with items within.

The process becomes even tougher when the packages are disposed of with leftover products inside. When accumulated in landfills or waterways, the chemicals in those products impart disastrous environmental effects.

Here comes the importance of a beauty waste recycling approach. Nowadays many brands are focusing on sustainable sourcing of raw materials as well as the recyclability of packaging and products. They are making concerted efforts and coming up with creative solutions to reduce their carbon footprints.

We should also take small steps towards protecting as well as preserving the environment by being a bit kinder to the earth.

Suggested Article: How To Develop An Eco-Friendly Beauty Routine.

How To Reuse Your Beauty Products And Containers?

Repurposing beauty products with plastic, glass, or metal packaging can help you save. Doing so can save both your pocket as well as the environment.

These hacks come easy and handy when recycling seems to be quite a task.

How to Recycle Conditioner

A bottle of conditioner that has been left unused for long can be reused as a shaving cream. Applying it right before hair removal will provide excellent lubrication for incredible razor glide and complete protection from nicks and cuts. The conditioning properties of the product will also make the skin hydrated, supple, and silky smooth.

recycle conditioner as shaving cream: close up of a person shaving their legs.

How to Recycle Face Oil

You can easily transform expensive face oils into enriching and conditioning body scrubs. All you need to do is add a bit of sugar to the product for gentle yet effective exfoliation.

While sugar helps in sloughing off dead cells from the surface layer of the skin, facial oils recharge and replenish by getting absorbed into it seamlessly. Such repurposed facial oils also give a natural glow by addressing a number of skin woes.

Suggested Article: Diy Coffee Scrub: 11 Coffee Skincare Recipes For Smooth Skin & Our Best Facial Oil Serum For Every Skin Type

How to Recycle Toner

Any facial toner comes with a high amount of alcohol, which helps in cleaning glass items without leaving any residue. Therefore, repurpose it as a sustainable cleaner for your household glass utensils, mirrors, spectacles, cell phone screens, etc. once it surpasses its shelf life.

the reflection of a woman cleaning a mirror, recycle toner as a cleaner.

How to Recycle Mascara

You can prolong the life of a dry mascara by adding a little saline solution to it. If the expiry date has already hit, you can still hide the popped grey hairs with it.

You can upcycle Mascara into homemade lip scrub wand, simply by blending a few drops of natural oil with it and applying to the lip area. Moreover, you can use the clean mascara wand as a spoolie brush for taming flyaways and unruly eyebrows.

How to Recycle Eyeliner

An old eyeliner pencil can be a great choice for markup, sketching, and even temporary body art, especially if you have kids at home. More so, you can reuse your liquid eyeliner as a beautiful nail art pen.

How to Recycle Eye Shadow

You can convert old vibrant eyeshadows into custom nail paints without putting in too much effort. All you need to do is blend the pigments with clear nail polish and your fun, quirky shades will be ready.

How to Recycle Lip Balm

If reused properly, a lip balm can become a multipurpose tool for you. Apart from doubling it up to tame your brows, you can also prevent foot blisters, soften cuticles, create new lip tint, or even fix stuck zippers with it. You can upcycle the leftover container using these amazing ideas.

woman applying lip balm, prep your skin

How to Recycle Lipstick

Melt your old lipstick and mix it with some petroleum jelly to add a tinted lip balm to your makeup kit. Also, create your very own lipstick shade with a bunch of stubby lip colours.

You can even get creative and make your fun nail paint with a liquid lipstick!

How to Recycle Broken Makeup

You can fix a broken compact to be as good as new easily and useable again. Simply crush the product completely, mix it with some rubbing alcohol, and reshape the paste into the container.

How to Recycle Product Containers

Put your empty containers to the best alternate use by cleaning them properly and filling them with eco-friendly homemade products. More so, big containers can also be used as accessory holders while the tiny ones are perfect for small items.

Suggested Article: Homemade DIY Natural Hydrating Body Wash For Dry Skin.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you can let your creative juices flow and make something exciting out of your containers too.

four pictures in one, each showing the transformation of recycle/upcycling a glass candle jar into a makeup brush holder.
You can upcycle many items in the home into different helpful storage.

How to Recycle Your Beauty Products and Packaging

Eco-friendly management of beauty-product wastes will not only save our lands and oceans but also reduce our global energy consumption. Hence, when re using does not sound good enough, opt for recycling instead of binning things away.

Know About Local Recycling

Do your homework to know what can be recycled locally and what you need to dispose of. The accepted materials and products may vary widely based on the local waste management system. Also, it may vary via the recycling companies they are working with.

Find the Recyclable Items

Figure out the recyclable items in your beauty stash based on the context clues provided on the packages.

A triangle composed of three arrows (‘Mobius Loop’) with or without a circle around.

A triangle with a number

A yin-yang dot with arrows, etc.

These are just some the handiest logos to identify recycled and recyclable items.

recycling beauty products with recycling symbol pasted on top of image.

Learn Methods of Recycling

We cannot recycle all sustainable packages in the same way. It is important to know the techniques before sending them away. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be thrown in with other glass recyclables after thorough cleansing.

Being a versatile material, plastic can be recycled in a number of ways. Essentially, however, make sure that you remove labels and clean the containers.

You should add all metallic (steel or aluminium) and aerosol cans in with other similar items after eliminating the products completely. It’s important to also detach other removable parts from them.

Clean paper and cardboard boxes are easily recyclable and hence, can be placed in the green recycling bin.

Recycle with Various Brands

Aveda, Lush, 100% Pure, Kiehl’s, Origins, MAC Cosmetics, and a few other beauty brands are committed to making a positive impact on the environment with their own recycling programs.

Simply take your old, expired, used, or under-used beauty items to them and they will recycle those for you. You may also receive an exciting reward for your effort.

Which Skincare And Makeup Items Should You Dispose Of?

It is not possible to recycle beauty-product wastes that are neither biodegradable nor sustainable. Furthermore, such toxic things need to be dropped very cautiously. Pouring them down the sink or condemning them straight to landfill works as a major source of contamination.

Here is how you can dispose of your beauty items without causing harm to the environment.

Resealable Pouches and Squeezable Tubes

Pouches and tubes that offer much flexibility often compose of multiple layers of plastic. They are not at all eco-friendly.

Pumps and Droppers from the Tops of Bottles

Being multi-material items, pumps and droppers are pretty tough to recycle. Hence, why you should collect the covers of your pump/dropper top bottles and dispose of carefully.

Glass Or Plastic Items with Certain Colours

While you can recycle transparent, green, and brown glasses easily, those having other odd colours are only suitable for sandblasting. Similarly, black plastic containers remain unrecognized by optical sorters and they must be tossed in the wastebasket. Things are improving in this realm though, as supermarket chain Sainsbury’s very recently showcased their plans in removing all black plastic from their ready meal range,

So, recycle your beauty products carefully from now onwards. This is the only way you can be responsible for this environment as a beauty product addict.


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