Can You Recycle Make-up? Here’s Your Guide
Can You Recycle Make-up? Here’s Your Guide

Can You Recycle Make-up? Here’s Your Guide

4 minutes read

Have you ever thought about what to do with old make-up? You’re not alone if you feel guilty every time you toss another old or half-used beauty product into the bin. Unfortunately, the global beauty industry is one of the top culprits when it comes to plastic waste – producing over 120 billion units of packaging every year – and it’s been proven that a whopping 95% of cosmetic packaging is just thrown away by the consumer. So, what can we do to do our part? Is there any way of helping the environment when it comes to getting rid of our old bits and bobs? Luckily, yes – and here’s how. 

Can You Recycle Make-up? 

The good news is that there are several easy ways to recycle your old make-up items, so think twice next time you finish up your favourite lippy. Companies such as Boots, Kiehl’s and The Body Shop all offer in-store ‘drop-off points’, where customers can pop their old beauty products into a bin and let the brand do the rest of the work. Clarins have their recycling scheme, too – the Free Recycling Programme with Terracycle – which means you can drop-off any used-up marvels to your local participating Clarins counters and recycle them without the need for shipping labels or a Terracycle account.    

What to do with Old Make-up? 

We’re all guilty of still having that old but fail-safe bronzer that’s been sitting in our beauty arsenal for years – or that discontinued mascara that – for the sake of our eyes – we should have thrown out a long time ago. But when you deem it time to part with your precious items, it’s wise to check whether you can recycle them. Any recyclable product will usually show a recycling symbol on the bottle or packaging, which means that they are suitable to be tossed into your recycling bin at home. But – there is a catch. Most pumps and screw tops aren’t, so you’ll have to separate these components from the plastic or glass bottles before doing so. It’s also important to remember that products need to be clean, dry and empty to be fully recyclable; otherwise, they may be rejected by your local council and end up in a landfill anyway. And when it comes to items like mascaras, palettes, compacts and lipsticks? Stick to recycling them with schemes like Terracycle to ensure they are dealt with appropriately. 

Are Make-up Wipes Recyclable? 

If you speak to any skincare expert, they will likely advise you against using make-up wipes. That’s not to say that some of us don’t resort to using them as a form of quick and easy (although not necessarily that effective) make-up removal after a heavy night out or when we’re in a rush. But worryingly, statistics show that this year, there has been a 72% increase in make-up and wet wipes washing up on our beaches – and that’s just in the UK. So if you must have a pack of make-up wipes on hand, opt for biodegradable ones, such as Nudestix Nudeskin Vegan Bamboo Cleansing Cloths, £26, or use micellar water with some reusable cotton pads, like Aurelia London Reusable Bamboo Cotton Pads, £16.   

Can you recycle Clarins skincare? 

You can recycle some skincare items, just as you can with make-up. But Clarins particularly have taken steps to ensure that all their cardboard boxes and corrugated inserts come from sustainably managed forests – and recycled and recyclable materials. Not only that, but they have also committed to making every single piece of packaging they produce recyclable by 2025. 

Can You Recycle Make-up Containers? 

Cosmetics brands such as La Bouche Rouge, Kjaer Weis, Hourglass and Hermes Beauty offer compacts and lipsticks that can replace the contents with a new pan or bullet of product. Even high-street giant Zara is offering refillable palettes in their beauty line. 

Can you refill perfumes? 

So, what about when it comes to fragrance? You’ll be pleased to hear that Clarins, along with other brands, offer a refill option. Iconic Clarins scent Eau Dynamisante comes in a refillable bottle that can be topped up at your nearest Clarins counter. Floral Street also offer a fragrance refill service at their flagship store in London’s Covent Garden, while The Experimental Perfume Club offer a discounted in-person refill service at their Selfridges counter in London.

Can You Recycle Make-up Packaging? 

Some small brands only deliver their products in compostable and fully recyclable packaging, such as All Earth Minerals, Ethique, Zao Makeup and Axiology. However, Clarins are also taking steps to become more green when it comes to their packaging, with many products now being delivered in boxes that are fully recyclable, and created from paper obtained from sustainable rainforests. 

The Point of Recycling Make-up 

So – what’s it all for? Well, in short, make-up recycling helps to reduce the demand for landfill and other expensive disposal methods. It also lowers the need for processing raw materials, which helps to reduce greenhouse gases and save energy, helping to combat climate change, preserve wildlife, cut carbon emissions, and maintain our rainforests. You can read more at Friends of The Earth UK. 

 Next Read: What Sustainable Beauty Looks Like Now

Sign up for our newsletter

We will keep you in the loop for special offers, exclusive gifts and product news.

Eau Dynamisante Clarins - 335 x 100
Eau Dynamisante Clarins - 1180 x 200