Makeup and other cosmetic products, such as contact lens, come with a shelf life that you should never take for granted. If you see some of your goodies going beyond their used-by date, you should look for ways to dispose of them without harming the environment. Here are some green beauty tips for recycling and disposing of your cosmetic essentials.
Disposal Options for Cosmetics
Return your cosmetic products
If there are products that you have just slightly used or not used at all, you can go back to the brand you purchased them from and return them. Many brands nowadays have a return policy of 45 to 60 days, even with used products.
Ask your brand for recycling options
Many makeup and skincare brands offer recycling options for their bottles and other packaging materials. Some brands even offer promotions like free products when you return empty containers.
Recycle the products on your own
There are many things that you can do with plastic and glass containers. With a simple washing with soap and warm water, you can clean the bottles and find ways to repurpose them within your home. You can use them as holders for pens, makeup brushes, or candles, and you can also use them for home decor.
Reuse your broken makeup
If you have accidentally dropped some of your makeup palettes, don’t rush and throw them away. You can use rubbing alcohol and mix it with your broken makeup and reshape it to fit your old container. That’s it, your makeup would be good as new!
Prolong the life of your mascara
Beauty hack! If you see your mascara approaching its use-by date, just add some saline solution. You will add years to the life of your favorite makeup product.
Go for products with plastic-free packaging
You can go for glass and metal tin products so that you can be sure that you can reuse or recycle the containers after using your cosmetic item.
Donate unused and slightly used products
If there are some products you bought or were gifted to you, but you don’t like, consider donating them. Many nonprofit organizations will benefit from your kind and giving heart.
Disposing Contact Lenses
Recently, there has been lots of attention on contact lens waste and how it is starting to infiltrate oceans. So, if you are someone who wears contact lenses, like the natural-looking ones from TTD Eye, you should be very mindful of where you dispose of them. Here are some tips that you should consider, as a contact lens wearer:
- Never flush out your contact lens in the sink or in the toilet.
- Contact lenses that get flushed down the toilet or thrown in the ocean end up in water treatment facilities and serve as sludge.
- Contact lenses are non-biodegradable, and much marine life mistakes them as food.
- Only dispose of your contact lenses in solid waste bins.
- If you can, go for monthly disposable lenses instead of daily ones.
- Use contact lens recycling companies like TerraCycle, Acuvue, and Bausch & Lomb.
Identify what the recycling rules within your community are
Local governments have their own guidelines and lists of items that you can recycle. This depends on the system for recovery in the community as well as their recycling and disposal centers. Usually, the recyclable materials will be sold to companies that do the processing. For instance, most American plastic waste was received by China for repurposing. China is actually reported to handle about 45 percent of global plastic waste.
Read and review the labels on your cosmetics to see what you can recycle
The information listed on the product packaging and their boxes is not meant to be ignored. Recyclable products frequently show the Mobius loop or a triangle with an arrow symbol that denotes the item is 100 percent recyclable. For plastic bottles, you will be able to see a number inside which specifies the kind used to make the container. Most recyclable plastic containers are distinguished by the number 1 or 2. Lastly, you may see a dot that appears similar to a yin-yang sign with arrows. This means that the product you are using is made up of recyclable materials, but that does not necessarily equal to its repeated usability.
Small cosmetic products are not usually recyclable
Using smaller cosmetic containers like lipstick cases or tubs that are lower than 6 ounces will often not go through the basic recycling programs. Some companies specialize in recycling unique materials so you can try to contact them. If you can’t, these materials must be disposed to a local hazardous waste program.
Check on the color of your containers
Most recycling companies prefer brown, green, clear, and glass containers. Some glass packaging with select colors can only be used for sandblasting machines, but harder for other purposes. This goes the same for plastic bottles.
Squeezable tubes and plastic pouches cannot be recycled, too
Because this type of packaging has unique films or coating, the multilayer feature cannot be processed by recycling companies. For these products, you must be careful in placing them in your garbage disposal. Finding companies that can utilize them for recycled or repurposed goods will be a little harder.
Rinse out the plastic bottles before bringing them to the recycling companies
It might be an extra task, but washing your bottles before disposing of them can go a long way. Products that have residue in them attracts pests and other animals once they reach the waste facilities, and if the containers get dirty, they will lose their value. If you can, try to remove the product labels.
The proper disposal of your cosmetics-related waste while trying to recycle as much as you can definitely go a long way. When you do this, you take part in helping to combat a global problem and helping to conserve the resources that we enjoy now for the generations to come. According to research, an average American can produce up to 1600 pounds of waste within a year. If you start with recycling your cosmetics like makeup, skincare, and contact lenses, you can make a significant difference. So, don’t hesitate, practice green beauty now!
Salman is a prolific environmental writer, and has authored more than 500 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management, sustainability and conservation all over the world.
Salman can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
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