Recycling is important, but can be a little confusing - we get it, and we struggle with it too sometimes because there’s so much to consider! It’s crucial to learn though, especially because the beauty industry is one of the biggest culprits of producing significant waste.
In fact, every year, 120 billion (yes, billion!) units of packaging are produced by the global cosmetics industry, and a vast majority of that usually ends up straight in the trash. That’s why it’s important to inform ourselves about the best ways to go about recycling our beauty products so that we can enjoy our routine, while also doing our part to help the planet.
The most effective way to help mama earth is to consume less. But of course, we love beauty - it’s fun, relaxing, and it’s often a big part of our self-care rituals - which we all have a right to.
So you may now ask, how can we still slather on our nightly body cream, apply face masks every Sunday, and light candles after work, while also caring for the environment? You don’t need to stop consuming what you love completely; you just need to consume more consciously. So instead of using ten single-use sheet masks - perhaps use a mask in a jar instead? And instead of buying your 5th candle (we feel you), maybe use the ‘one in, one out’ method and finish up that one candle you’ve been working on all year, before buying the next one. And always remember to think thoroughly before purchasing: Will it make you happy, or is it just another possession that doesn’t mean anything to you?
Reuse Reuse Reuse
Since not everything that goes in the recycling bin is being recycled, It’s a whole lot better for the planet to increase the lifespan of the product and reuse things as many times as you can before throwing them away. Here are some ways to get some more use out of your beauty products once they’re all used up!
- Turn your empty candle jars into makeup brush, cotton swabs, or pencil holders.
- Convert glass perfume bottles or body oils into vases and put all your pretty flowers on display.
- If you finish up a makeup compact with a mirror, don’t throw it away! Keep it as a travel compact and use the mirror for touch-ups. And since it’s empty, there’s no risk of the powder shattering during travel.
- Refill an emptied facial cleanser bottle with your potentially not-so-cute hand soap and have your friends drool over the beautiful packaging.
Now onto the products that can’t be reused anymore - time to recycle! There are some things you might not know about how to recycle your beauty correctly, so here are some guidelines.
Every city has different rules and regulations, so it’s crucial to check with your local government to find out what can and can’t be recycled where you live. Most places will take PET and HDPE, which are plastics 1 and 2, respectively, but after that, it’s not so concrete.
One rule is constant, though: always rinse out anything that’s going to go in the recycling bin, because if you don’t, it can contaminate the other items in the container and cause the entire contents in the bin to no longer be recyclable. Also, make sure to remove any labels on the exterior or interior packaging, if that’s something that your local government requires.
And be sure to check out TerraCycle if your government does not accept the majority of your beauty products. Just sign up (there may be a waitlist at the time that you register), get a free shipping label, and send out your products to them to be appropriately recycled.
We know recycling can be overwhelming and complicated, but we hope this gave you a little more insight into how to get more use out of your products and how to make sure your products are being recycled (or not if they’re unable to be). If you have any other ways to reuse or insights into the recycling process, drop them in the comments! We’re always looking for new ways to learn with you all.