April 19, 2024

Here’s how to recycle and reuse your beauty products the right way

Our newsfeeds have been filled with severe flash floods and devastating forest fires as well as an IPCC Climate Report that declared “Code Red” for humanity. Plus, the links between the pandemic and an unsustainable attitude towards the planet have been undeniable.

From excessive international travel, mistreatment of animals for meat, hyper-consumption of consumer goods and crammed city live have all played a part in the demise of life as we once knew it, and have added a collective sense of urgency to change the way we live.

The events of the past 18 months have confirmed our priorities and made us all take stock of the things that are the most important: protecting our health and preserving our future, which ultimately comes down to taking care of each other and the planet.

One of the most immediate and easiest changes everyone can make is to maximise the materials we have and limit our waste. Sustainable practices like reducing our plastic footprint, using more zero waste packaging and making more environmentally-friendly choices in every day life are practices that everyone can engage in.

However, even when you’re doing all those things, knowing how to recycle packaging properly can be confusing, especially when it comes to our beauty products (which statistics show we recycle far less than our kitchen waste).

From shampoo bottles and old lipsticks, to hair straighteners and makeup palettes, it can be a struggle to find out the safest way to dispose of our beauty waste. With one in four Brits admitting they value environmentally friendly beauty products, but a clear lack of understanding when it comes to actually putting our empties in the right bins, there’s plenty of work to do to ensure our choices are eco-friendly. So, with the help of Currentbody, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to recycling the contents of your bathroom shelf, just in time for National Recycling Week.

Currently recyclable:

Hairdryer – must be taken to a recycling centre
Plastic bottles – as long as they have one of the recyclable plastic symbols on the back, they can be put in your normal recycling bin. Ensure you remove the plastic cap, and wash and dry the bottle thoroughly
Cans – both steel or aluminium are recyclable and brands are using both materials more and more to create more sustainable products. Make sure the can is completely empty and detach any removable parts
Glass bottles – glass is recyclable, but make sure to remove any plastic components like the pump, label or lid.

A simple guide to all the recycling symbols on the back of your products

Partly recyclable:

Mascara – whereas mascara tubes are often made from recyclable material, the wands typically aren’t recyclable but they can be donated to animal sanctuaries.
Foundation bottles – pumps are not recyclable. If the bottle is glass you can recycle it, but ensure you’ve washed and dried it first.
Makeup palettes – most palettes contain magnets and mirrors which aren’t recyclable, so these parts need to be disposed of separately.

Not currently recyclable:

Make-up wipes – unless labelled as biodegradable, makeup wipes are not recyclable. Consider buying reusable makeup pads or cotton pads instead.
Nail varnish bottles – due to the hazardous toxins found in nail varnish, the glass bottles are not recyclable, even when thoroughly rinsed.
Make-up brushes – neither animal hair nor vegan brushes are currently recyclable.

These are the best biodegradable beauty products that are great for your skin (and the planet)

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