Sustainable beauty is making waves in the beauty industry. Companies are looking into biodegradable packaging, refillable containers, and clean ingredients, and some have already achieved all three. However, Real Simple writes that 2.7 billion plastic bottles of bathroom waste alone end up in landfills every year. Gina Herrera, TerraCycle's resident beauty industry expert, tells Real Simple that the cosmetics industry produces 120 billion units of packaging annually. This includes the cardboard boxes that contain fragrances, moisturizers, and serums. She adds that these small boxes contribute to the loss of up to 18 million acres of forest in just a year.
At home, it's essential to recycle our empty beauty product containers to avoid more waste. Beauty products come in a variety of packaging, and it can be very confusing to recycle. Recycling experts share how to make sure that all your empties end up where they're supposed to be.
Make sure to check and always follow your local recycling laws to ensure that you are abiding by the rules. To find out what recyclables are accepted, you can go online and use resources like Recycle Coach, How2Recycle, and EARTH911. Also, check the universal recycling symbol (three arrows that form a triangle). If you see a number 1 or 2 within the triangle, that means your empty bottles can join your kitchen and household items in the trash bin.
Eco-conscious brands offer recycling programs. For instance, Nordstrom for BEAUTYCYCLE is a free program that invites people to drop off empties of their beauty products (regardless of the brand) at in-store collection points. Just keep in mind that they don't accept aerosol cans and bottles of perfume, nail polish, and nail polish remover.
A reminder from Instyle: make sure to rinse out your empty bottles of product before chucking them in recycling bins. Alita Kane, community liaison of The Recycling Partnership, says that when liquids contaminate other recyclable materials like paper and cardboard, they can no longer be processed and can't be repurposed. It will also help if you remove labels. These extra steps will make a huge difference in the recycling process.
Typically, anything that is travel-sized, or are less than two inches in size, are not generally accepted in recycling plants. Products that have dark packaging are also out since they can't be identified by MRF machines. Products that have mirrors or magnets are also not accepted. Check this list of other items that can't be recycled:
Bronzer cases, concealer tubes, concealer sticks, eye shadow cases, eyeliner cases, eyeliner pencils, eyeshadow tubes, foundation packaging, lipstick cases, lip gloss tubes, lip liner pencils, mascara tubes, and powder cases.
Conditioner caps, hair gel tubes and caps, hair spray triggers, hair paste caps, and shampoo caps.
Body wash caps, lip balm tubes and caps, lotion dispensers and caps and soap dispensers and tubes.
However, check out Nordstrom BEAUTYCYCLE as they still accept most of these items.
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