As we grapple with the effects of climate change on the world, we must be diligent and do our bit to help out. Steering clear of single use items and participating in recycling is a super easy way to lessen your footprint on the earth.
Achieving perfection in this area isn’t really viable, but making more considered purchasing decisions and using your local council’s recycling program is a good step.
When it comes to recycling your beauty products, each product is different and must be treated that way. So, don’t throw all of your empty makeup and skincare products into the recycling bin as many of them aren’t recyclable. Below, we’ve rounded up a bunch of common beauty products and explained how you can properly dispose of each container.
Every council has different recycling rules
Before throwing your empty beauty products in the recycle bin, be sure to check the website of your local council. Each council has different rules when it comes to recycling and some are more lenient than others. For example, the City of Sydney website details the list of products that can and can’t be put in local recycling bins, but this could differ to a local council in Melbourne, so make sure to do your research!
How to recycle your products
Most plastic bottles that house shampoo, conditioner and body wash are accepted and can be placed in your recycling bin. Before throwing them out, give them a quick rinse and make sure they are empty and dry before collection.
Aerosols can also be popped in your recycling bin but they need to be completely empty before being recycled. So, your empty hairspray and deodorant cans are good to go!
Another product that can be recycled is glass jars. Just make sure any moisturiser or product has been cleaned out before popping in the recycling bin. One thing to note with glass is that the colour matters. According to Self, clear, brown and green glass is often preferred for recycling programs. Other colours can be problematic to recycle as bottle manufacturers are less likely to buy them back.
Mascara, lipstick, nail polish & eyeshadow palettes
Unfortunately these products are too tricky to recycle and should just be chucked in the normal waste bin. While nail polish bottles are glass (which is recyclable), putting small items into the recycling bin is a no-no. According to Self, small items like lipstick bullets and nail varnish bottles are screened out by the recycling program and sent to landfill anyway.
Makeup brushes and perfume bottles
These are also on the unrecyclable list, so pop these in your landfill waste bin.
Anything flexible or squeezable
Sheet mask pouches, squeezable hand cream containers and toothpaste tubes can’t be recycled. This is because the product is usually made up of several types of plastic, or it has a plastic film inside that voids its eligibility, as reported by Self.
Pump tops and droppers
Pump tops usually have a metal mechanism inside so any product with a pump top must be separated. The bottom of the packaging can be recycled but the pump should be thrown in the normal waste bin. Droppers are also made from a mix of materials that aren’t able to be recycled, so best to pop it in the bin.
Bottle caps and screwtops are fine to be recycled when they are attached to the product. Don’t place any individual caps in the recycling bin as they are too small and the recycling sorting system won’t register them.
Another way to recycle
While many products can’t be disposed of in your council recycling program, there is another way. TerraCycle specialises in hard-to-recycle waste and offers ways you can get rid of these unrecycable products.
TerraCycle offers free recycling funded by various brands, manufacturers and retailers and it currently has partnerships with Burt’s Bees, Jurlique and L’Occitane. This means that you can drop off any Burt’s Bees, Jurlique or L’Occitane product at their respective stores for it to be recycled, or it can be sent via mail.
TerraCycle also has a partnership with Colgate, so you can recycle your toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads and floss containers by simply dropping them off at a collection hub detailed on their website.
Pay for an extended recycling program
If you’re keen to make a bigger impact when it comes to recycling your beauty products, you can actually invest in a recycling box from TerraCycle.
A small box costs $200 and you can fill this with the following beauty products: cosmetic jars, shampoo bottles, lipstick and lipgloss tubes and makeup containers like palettes.
You simply return the box when it’s full and TerraCycle will dispose of it correctly. The only beauty product containers they won’t accept in this box include nail polish or nail polish remover, aerosols, perfume bottles or hair dye.