Approximately 120 billion beauty product are created every year. Can they be recycled?
We have a real problem. Plastic is quite literally filling up our planet, overtaking landfills and ending up in oceans. You may toss your beauty packages in the recycling bin thinking you’re doing your part, but only an estimated 9% of those products will actually get recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, burned, or shipped overseas. So, what can you do? Is there a way to recycle the hundreds of beauty products you go through in a year?
The good news is yes.
To ensure your beauty packages get recycled, follow these rules:
1. Rinse out all beauty bottles and containers.
If the bottle or container is contaminated with old product, your local recycling facility will throw it in the landfill. If the bottle contains nail polish, nail polish remover or perfume, unfortunately it has to go in the hazardous waste bin.
2. Disassemble beauty containers and separate non-recyclable parts.
Unfortunately most skincare and beauty packaging contain parts made of mixed materials (like tiny coils and springs) or are too small, like caps, to be processed in your local recycling facility. If you’re positive that a cap or lid is made up from same material as the container, you can keep it on and recycle whole.
3. Read the Recycling Number
All plastic containers are labeled with a recycling number, which indicate the type of plastic it contains. Most commonly, your local recycling facility can process any plastics labeled as 1,2 and sometimes 4 and 5. Know before you throw! Most municipalities have recycling program guides. Here in Toronto there’s a Waste Wizard.
4. Recycle drop-offs for all beauty ineligible beauty containers
For all all small parts or packaging that can’t be recycled (especially many cosmetic products like lipstick and compacts) use special recycling programs such as Terra Cycle or Pact Collective. Here in Toronto, you can find Pact Collective boxes at The Bay, or Terra Cycle boxes at Nordstrom’s. Mail-in options are also available for both programs.
5. Choose beauty and skincare packaging that’s plastic free or reusable!