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How to Recycle Empty Beauty Products

Let’s talk about how to recycle empty beauty products. With Earth Day upon us, now is a great time to do some spring cleaning and declutter your beauty products. Let’s be real. I’m sure most of us have empty skincare and makeup containers laying around. You might be wondering what on earth — get it? Earth.. Earth day.. ha ha, anyway) — to do with these products. Let’s break it down. C’mon, that was too good. I had to.

Reduce Beauty Empties

First and foremost, you can reduce beauty product waste by shopping your stash before buying new products. I know it can be so tempting to want to buy new products, but chances are you have existing products that are either brand new or serve the same purpose as the shiny, new product you’re eyeing. You really don’t need that new neutral toned eyeshadow palette when you already have multiple neutral toned eyeshadow palettes that have yet to be used up. Am I talking out loud to myself here? Yes, but I hope this resonates with you, as well.

Many retailers and brands, including Ulta and Sephora, are also now using AI to offer virtual try-ons for beauty products. While this doesn’t compare to the feeling of experiencing products in-store and there is still room for growth in terms of inclusivity in these apps, this can be a fun way to “try out” products and swatch them on yourself without actually trying them on.

Reuse Beauty Empties

Have you ever thought about how to reuse beauty empties? Grab your empty glass packaging because we’re about to get creative. Some empties, like glass jars, can be reused as plant propagation pots, jewelry storage, pen holders, and so much more. Depending on the packaging, you can also refill your empties with product. I love holding onto empty mini sized micellar water bottles and refilling them, especially to take on travel.

Recycle Beauty Empties

The next option is recycling. A lot of beauty brands have implemented their own recycling programs. While some only accept empties of their own products, other companies accept your empties regardless of the brand. Most beauty brands also have a rewards program to encourage recycling, so not only do you get to recycle your products, but you gain points that can be redeemed for future purchases. Some of my favorite brands that have recycling programs that immediately come to mind are bareMinerals, Pacifica, and Garnier.

Nordstrom partnered with TerraCycle to host an in-store empties recycling program called BeautyCycle, which accepts all beauty products, including haircare, skincare, and makeup. It’s as easy as dropping off your empties in the pink recycle box in stores. This program is currently available in select Nordstrom’s. You can click here to check if this service is offered in your local area. Please note that while most beauty packaging is accepted, there are some restrictions.

Per Nordstrom’s website, here’s a list of products you cannot recycle at BeautyCycle:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Perfume, nail polish or nail polish remover bottles
  • Electronics (hair and skin care tools)
  • Non-empty containers of product
  • Biomedical or biohazardous waste

I encourage you to look into recycling programs offered by your favorite beauty brands. I’m excited to see more of a shift toward sustainability in the beauty industry. Let’s do our part in making the world more beautiful.