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How to properly recycle your makeup & skin care products

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

As we become more conscious of our environmental impact, it's important to extend our sustainability efforts to all aspects of our lives, including our beauty routines. Recycling plays a vital role in reducing waste and conserving resources. In this blog, we'll explore the world of recycling makeup and skin care products, providing you with practical tips on how to responsibly dispose of your beauty items. By learning how to properly recycle, you can take a step towards creating a greener and more sustainable beauty regimen.

  1. Check Local Recycling Guidelines: To ensure you recycle your beauty products correctly, start by familiarizing yourself with your local recycling guidelines. Different regions may have specific rules and regulations regarding the recycling of certain materials. Research your local recycling facilities or visit their websites to learn which items can be recycled, what should be disposed of in regular waste, and any special instructions for preparation.

  2. Empty and Clean Containers: Before recycling, it's crucial to empty and clean your makeup and skin care containers properly. Remove any remaining product from bottles, tubes, and jars. To clean them, rinse with water or use mild soap to remove residues. For mascara or lipstick tubes, wipe off excess product using tissue or cotton pads. Cleaning ensures that recycling facilities can process the materials efficiently.

  3. Separate Materials: Different components of makeup and skin care products often require separate recycling processes. For instance, the plastic components of containers and packaging may need to be recycled separately from glass or metal parts. Take the time to disassemble your products if possible and separate the different materials. This allows for more efficient recycling and prevents contamination.

  4. Recycling Containers: Most plastic containers, such as those for moisturizers, foundations, and cleansers, can be recycled. Check the recycling symbol on the packaging to determine the type of plastic it's made from. Common symbols include PET, HDPE, and PP, which are widely accepted by recycling facilities. Ensure the containers are clean and free of any leftover product before placing them in the recycling bin.

  5. Special Considerations: Some beauty products may require special handling due to their ingredients or packaging. Nail polish, for example, is considered hazardous waste and should not be disposed of in regular recycling. Look for designated collection sites or programs in your area that accept hazardous materials. Additionally, certain items like aerosol cans or glass perfume bottles may need to be recycled separately. Research specific instructions for these items to ensure they are recycled appropriately.

  6. Explore Product Take-Back Programs: Many beauty brands are taking steps towards sustainability by offering product take-back programs. These programs allow you to return empty containers to the brand for recycling or upcycling. Check if your favorite brands offer such initiatives, as it provides a convenient and reliable way to ensure your products are recycled responsibly.

  7. Upcycle and Reuse: Before recycling, consider if any of your beauty products or containers can be repurposed or upcycled. Empty jars can be used for storing small items or DIY beauty recipes, while larger product packaging can be transformed into creative organizers or planters. Get creative and find new uses for your beauty items to reduce waste and extend their lifespan.


Properly recycling your makeup and skin care products is a small but impactful step towards a more sustainable beauty routine. By following local recycling guidelines, emptying and cleaning containers, separating materials, and exploring take-back programs, you can ensure that your beauty items are recycled responsibly. Embrace the concept of upcycling and reuse whenever possible to give your products a second life. Together, let's create a more environmentally-friendly beauty industry and contribute to a greener future.

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