If you have just hit a pan of your favorite beauty product don’t rush to throw it away! Not all plastic containers are created equal. Because of that, some types of plastic, particularly used in the beauty industry, are harder to recycle as they require special facilities and your local one may not have them. Because of that, most of the hard-to-recycle plastic end up in landfill even though you may have placed it in a recycling bin.
Luckily, there are companies who got your back and will be happy to recycle your empty containers and even reward you for your contribution to saving the planet.
Origins was the first brand in the beauty industry to create a recycling program back in 2009. Today, they accept empties from any brand and will recycle them for free.
Another brand that is famous for its recycling program is M.A.C. Cosmetics. Their Back-to-MAC-Program offers a free M.A.C. lipstick of your choice in return for six M.A.C. primary packaging containers.
“Primary packaging is packaging used to contain the product itself [e.g. an eyeshadow pot, lipstick shell, lash case]. Secondary packaging is used to protect/contain the primary item [e.g. the cardboard box that contains eye shadow].” – Back-to-Mac-Program
The program is available online and in stores. If you are a member of their loyalty program, M.A.C Select, you can return the empties one by one at your own pace and once you have six of empties on file, you can choose between lipstick, lipgloss, and a single eyeshadow. Restrictions apply. For more details, please check their website.
Kiehl’s has a Recycle and Be rewarder Program where they accept both deluxe and full-size products from their brand. For each full-size empties, you’ll get a stamp. By collecting ten stamps you are qualified for a free travel-size product. Check their policy for more details.
Bareminerals has just launched a Give Back Get Back Recycling Program. They do accept makeup and skincare products from any brand and offer Friends and Benefit (FAB) points towards your future purchases. Before you are ready to go, check if your nearest boutique has this program available. For now, the closest shop maybe quite away from you, but they do accept 5 empties at a time which is worth driving for.
Summer Fridays have recently started the recycling program: by collecting and sending 5 a Summer Friday empties to the brand, you get a free mini Jet Lag Mask in return. The program is currently available for customers in the the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, and the UK.
Another company that is happy to take the burden of recycling is TerraCycle. They have partnered with a number of beauty brands, including Garnier, Burts Bee’s, EOS and many more and offer a recycling program that deals with all the tricky recycling waste. This program is free to join, and as a reward, you will get points that can be redeemed towards charity donations or for the TerraCycle Products. Check the list of accepted plastic as well as details on each program on their website.
Another brand that has teamed up with Terra Cycle is Innisfree. A Korean based skincare company offers their US customers a recycling service in exchange for loyalty program points that can be redeemed towards new purchases. The program is available in stores and soon will be available online. Details here.
Besides the above-mentioned brands, L’Occitane is another company that works with Terra Cycle and offers rewards when you turn your empty containers in stores! All you have to do is to bring your full-size emptie of L’Occitane product or ANY other beauty brand and you’ll get 10% off your next full-size product! Simple as that.
Even though Aveda doesn’t offer any reward for recycling, their Full Circle recycling program accepts any kind of Aveda empties and accessories. They do have facilities to recycle even the trickiest plastic, including caps and tubes.
Aether Beauty, the new clean beauty company, known for its crystal-powered makeup products along with 100% recycled packaging, has also joined its forces with TerraCycle. While you can always recycle your Aether Beauty empties at home, not everyone is having reliable recycling facilities close to their houses. If you are one of those lacking a recycling facility nearby, you can request a free Terracycle recycling envelope for your Āether Beauty packaging with a pre-paid USPS label. The program accepts outer packaging, inner packaging, and even keepsake Tarot Card that come with the palettes.
Ilia Beauty, a clean makeup brand, has joined TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box platform that is dedicated to recycling the hard-to-recycle. While the product they create already has sustainability in mind, by simplifying the packaging and sourcing materials that are safe for the planet and the product, the empty still needs to go somewhere. To recycle Ilia beauty empties or any other beauty brand, just fill out the recycling form on their website to get a prepaid shipping label. U.S. customers are allowed to mail in up to 5 empty beauty products per month.
Glow Recipe, is a K-beauty-inspired clean skincare brand, makes 100% recyclable packaging, implementing no-waste packaging while striving to become Carbon Neutral by 2022. Glass jars used for some products are in turn made of 20% recycling glass. You can either repurpose glass empties or recycle them at home, but make sure to rinse them. Upcycled glass jars make perfect vases for small flowers! While you can recycle glass containers and some plastic caps and parts at home, not everything is easily recyclable, that’s why they partnered with Terra Cycle. Glow Recipe did a great job sharing diagrams describing how to recycle each part of the product, so there is no guesswork in what goes to your local recycling facility and what should be shipped to Terra Cycle.
Amika, a professional haircare brand for all hair types is also committed to reducing amika’s virgin plastic production by partnering with TerraCycle. To start the process, print a free pre-paid shipping label off their TerraCycle page. Take any box or parcel you have and put your empties inside, just make sure they are completely empty. Attach the label to the parcel and ship back your empty packaging! However, bear in mind that currently, they don’t accept empties in a form of aerosols, such as dry shampoo and hair sprays.
Josie Maran Cosmetics, a clean beauty brand with Argan oil at the heart of product formulations, also partnered with Terra Cycle to recycle empty products. To start, you would need to register at Terra Cycle and request a prepaid shipping label. Terra Cycle accepts all parts of Josie Maran empties and it is brand-specific, which means a shipping box should contain only products from this specific brand. While you don’t need to clean your empties, it is recommended to remove as much product from the jars as possible, because UPS will not accept dripping packages. Also, make sure your waste is dry prior to shipping. There are no limits on the weight, but for every pound, you earn 100 TerraCycle points.
Bliss, a clean drugstore skincare brand, also offers a recycling program. First of all, if you see a 1, 2 or PET on the bottom of the bottle or jar, drop it in your local recycling bin. All of their cartons and glass bottles are locally recyclable, too! For everything else, they joined forces with Terra Cycle. You can recycle all Bliss personal care products and packaging including flexible and rigid plastic, pumps, sprays, packets, pouches, tubes, jars, and complex closures. Same as with other programs, you need to register at Terra Cycle to get a pre-paid shipping label, rinse the empties, put them in a box, and ship!
While disposing of the toxic nail polish leftovers at home is a really bad idea to do, Zoya offers a recycling program for nail polishes available only once a year during the Earth Day. Just trade in your unwanted bottles of old nail polishes from any brand for Zoya’s new nail polishes – details on their website.
While Lilah Beauty, a clean makeup brand, doesn’t offer a reward for recycling, you can use their recycling program. Just shoot them an email at [email protected] to get a prepaid return shipping label that you can use to send your unwanted lilah b. beauty products.
Sometimes you don’t really have to do much to do good. Save this pin for your future reference!
Is there any program that needs to be added on the list? Let me know in the comments down below!