Reusable beauty products
16 Mar

How to Dispose of Used Beauty Products

As consumers, we utilize a range of beauty products in our daily lives, whether it's makeup, skincare, or haircare. Once these things have been used up, what do we typically do? Throw them in the trash. However, most products are typically disposed of improperly. 

Improper disposal of cosmetic items can harm the environment and contribute to waste in landfills. According to The Cool Down, “Because curbside recycling services do not accept most beauty product containers, many of them get thrown away, overwhelming landfills and clogging our water supplies with tiny fragments of plastic packaging.” This wastefulness is a huge harm to the planet. But the good news is that it’s possible to dispose of beauty goods safely and responsibly using various methods, depending on the product type and packaging. In this article, we'll review some general recommendations for disposing of used beauty products.

1. Check the Packaging

Check the product packaging for any recycling symbols or instructions. For example, while certain cosmetics may be recyclable, others might need to go in the trash. You should also check and verify the materials used to create the packaging. For instance, recycling glass containers undergoes a different process than recycling plastic containers and must be separated before reaching the recycling facility. Many people label separate bins by the material to make throwing out items easier. Also, depending on the brands you use, there may be return programs, incentives, or refills available. Exploring the different sites where the brand offers incentives or refills will decrease the number of items that go to the landfill. 

2. Empty the Product 

Before discarding the product, use the entire item, but avoid rinsing out the product. The packaging of beauty products poses a risk in landfills and water systems; they could contaminate other materials in the waste stream, making it more challenging to recycle or dispose of other materials properly or contaminate surface water. Using all of the product before disposing of it or finding out if your local disposal center accepts cosmetics as household hazardous waste are important steps to minimizing waste and being environmentally responsible. 

3. Clean the Product

According to Peaches and Blush, if possible, always clean the packaging before disposing of it. This can help ensure that it is properly recycled or disposed of. Certain cosmetics may contain residues or chemicals that are dangerous for our waterways and soil. Before rinsing out a product, you should always research your local household hazardous waste center to ensure the ingredients in your product aren’t toxic. Most local disposal centers provide specific drop-off times for cosmetics, medications, aerosols, paints, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, and other hazardous products. Bringing them here assures they’ll be disposed of wisely—whether through recycling, incineration, conversion to cement, pyrolysis (thermochemical decomposition), or placement in a hazardous waste landfill. 

4. Separate the Product Components

Some beauty products may contain separate packaging components that you can’t recycle. Therefore, separate and dispose of those components according to local guidelines, or it may be best to put them in the trash. Glass and plastic packaging, for example, can be separated to make it simpler for recycling facilities to process the materials. 

Another benefit of separating the different types of packaging is that it allows the user to obtain the maximum value of the materials. Glass and plastic are good examples of materials with different recycling values, so separating them can ensure that the maximum value is obtained. Most importantly, separating different packaging types reduces the amount of unnecessary waste sent to landfills. Certain materials can be reused and made into playground equipment, upholstery, fleece jackets, and so much more.

5. Dispose of the Packaging

Finally, once the product is clean and ready to be disposed of, you should always check with your local recycling or waste management facility for specific instructions if the item doesn’t entail details about recycling. If your local recycling center doesn’t accept your products, other ways exist to dispose of or reuse beauty product packaging.

  • Contact the Manufacturer

One option is to contact the product's manufacturer and see if they offer a recycling program. According to Peaches and Blush, many brands now offer recycling programs for their products, so this is worth checking out.

  • Upcycle Your Products

You can always upcycle your beauty product containers into something else. For example, you can use an empty lotion bottle as a vase or a used makeup jar as a pencil holder. So use your best DIY skills, get creative, and see what you can conjure up!

At Golden Arrow, we are proud to be leaders in crafting luxurious, uncompromisingly sustainable packaging that helps make the world environmentally friendly. Our packaging solutions are made from sustainable materials and designed to stand out from the crowd while being useful time and time again. Get in contact with us today to learn more!