Written By Lillian Connors / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Rarely a day starts when we don’t take a bath, put on deodorant, or wear makeup. Even at night, many people apply cleansers and toners before sleeping. Others put on their favorite skin regimen while they sleep, the treatments doing their work while people peacefully doze off.
While these beauty products help us feel clean, neat, and beautiful, using them may have a detrimental effect on the environment. Sooner or later, beauty products run out; and we have to deal with the containers, brushes, applicators, and other stuff left behind.
Recycling Beauty Products
Due to the vast variety of skin care, body care, hair care, and cosmetics we use daily, beauty products are among the most challenging items to recycle. Many of the packaging materials can’t be recycled via your standard municipal waste pickup.
The different ingredients that comprise the products themselves make them difficult to recycle, reuse, or dispose of. This adds to the already massive amount of garbage as shown in the latest recycling info. Nevertheless, recycling beauty products can be done. The key is to segregate what can be recycled or not.
Determine what are recyclable and non-recyclable beauty products
You can use recycling apps to determine which household materials, including beauty products, are acceptable for recycling in your local community. You can also ask your local government to know the details of recycling in your area.
Check the packaging. If it has the internationally recognized Universal Recycling Symbol (URS), then it is generally recyclable. Also check the bottom of the container - you can see a few numbers there from one to seven. These numbers indicate the type of plastic it’s made of. One and two denote plastic material that can easily be recycled. Number three means that the material is made of PVC, which is difficult to recycle.
Note that even though the items have the URS or a recycling number, they may be exempt from items allowed to be recycled as per your local government’s ordinances.
Mail empty beauty products containers back to the manufacturer
Many manufacturers have jumped on the green movement bandwagon, looking for ways to make their products more sustainable. Among these endeavors are mail-back and recycling programs that reward you for returning the products.
Let’s check out some examples. MAC has its Back to MAC program wherein you can get a free MAC lipstick upon returning six empty MAC containers. Colgate and Tom’s of Maine have their own recycling programs administered through TerraCycle, an institution specializing in recycling hard-to-recycle waste materials. Kiehl also has an amazing recycling program that rewards you if you return a few batches of their empty containers.
Check out other brands for their own recycling programs. Think about it: you get to save the environment; reduce your trash; and enjoy freebies, discounts, and other perks.
Recycle beauty product bottles, tubs, pots, and boxes
Many beauty products come in recyclable containers such as small bottles, tubs, pots, and boxes. Rinse out the contents first and let the inside dry. Then you can use them to store small items such as trinkets, jewelry, and craft materials. Some containers have interesting designs, which make them perfect to use as vases or decorations.
If you know loved ones, relatives, neighbors, friends, and colleagues who love DIY projects, give your used beauty care containers to them. They can transform those items into amazing crafts.
Don’t throw away old makeup brushes and applicators
Old and frayed makeup brushes can have a second life as cleaning brushes. Use them to clean corners of your table, PC monitor, keyboard, and other small areas. You can also clean circuit boards with those brushes; the bristles are soft enough to prevent damaging the delicate electronic components.
If you have a friend who builds and paints scale models and miniature figures, give him your used brushes and makeup applicators. Model builders are on the lookout for these brushes. That’s because they’re perfect for a modeling technique called dry-brushing, which helps subtly highlight raised areas of the model or miniature.
Model builders also desire makeup applicators as they can be used to apply coloring pigments to the models as well as create special effects.
Donate mascara wands
Don’t throw away those small mascara wands once the bottle runs out of mascara. Clean the wands with soapy water, and donate them to animal rescue centers, shelters, pet groomers, and pet stores. These can be used to clean, groom, and soothe small animals such as mice, guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits.
Use pump bottles as dispensers
As long as the pump mechanism is undamaged, you can reuse your empty pump bottles. You can save money by purchasing a refill sachet or bag of the original product then empty it into the pump bottle. There are also a growing number of eco-friendly establishments that sell refills only; all you need to do is to bring your own bottle.
Otherwise, rinse out the bottle and let it dry. Now, you can fill it with some other household products such as dishwashing liquid, hand soap, bleach, and toilet bowl cleaner.
Segregate beauty product items that you’ll send to the recycling plant
After considering all the options listed above, you may be left with items that could be recycled properly if sent to your local recycling facility. Such items include small boxes, aerosol cans, and non-working hair dryers or irons. Don’t throw them away in your normal household trash.
Know which beauty product items can’t be recycled
Try as you might, there are just some waste materials that cannot be recycled. Take note of these unrecyclable beauty products:
- Used facial mask membranes
- Plastic tubes
- Plastic sachets
- Used wipes
- Used Q-tips
- Used cotton swabs
- Leftover products
We often feel dirty, messy, and disheveled if we miss our daily cleaning and beauty rituals. Beauty products are available to address those needs. Furthermore, if we follow the tips mentioned above, we can also help Mother Nature remain fresh and beautiful as well.
Looking for 100% chemical-free, all-natural nourishing face and body oils? Check out Earth & Elm Nourishing Face Oil and Earth & Elm Nourishing Body Oil. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral care, skincare, body care and foot care. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Lillian Connors is a Senior Content Developer at ACT-ENVIRO, with years of experience in developing content. Throughout her career, she always looked for ways to contribute to the environment in recycling efforts, while providing valuable information with her written articles. She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainability not only makes us far less dependent on others regarding how we live and do business but also contributes to our planet being a better place to live on. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book and sip on an occasional appletini.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.