What to Do With Old Makeup Containers

One thing that seems to be inevitable for most women is having empty makeup and cosmetics containers. Unless you make your own makeup or just go without it altogether, you probably have at least one or two containers every year that you need to dispose of.

Are makeup containers recyclable or reusable? Yes, with a little effort!

Reuse empty perfume bottles as vases for small flowers, or reed diffusers for essential oils.

Try reusing empty lip balm tubes or tins by making your own lip balm. This is one item I throw away fairly often since the plastic isn't recyclable in my curbside program. I've never made my own version, but I'm tempted to try this recipe!

If your containers are plastic, check for a number somewhere on the outside. If it's a number that your curbside program accepts, clean out any leftover makeup or mirrors and recycle the plastic. Same goes for cardboard containers.

Save the mirrors to use when you travel or for some kind of craft project.

TerraCycle has partnered with Garnier to establish a personal care and beauty product recycling program where you mail in accepted clean, empty containers. TerraCycle then sorts the plastic by type and recycles the material into pellets that can be used for new products. There are almost 21,000 participating locations, and more than 9 million pounds of waste has been diverted from a landfill and been recycled.

MAC Cosmetics has a return program that rewards you the more you return containers. In the Back-to-MAC Program, every time you return six containers, you get a free lipstick. Containers can be returned at an in-store counter or through the mail.

Origins accepts and recycles empty cosmetic containers from any brand through their program. Additionally, they use FSC-certified and recycled paper for their cardboard packaging.

Aveda strives to use recycled plastic for their containers, in addition to using a type of plastic that can be recycled curbside in many cities. They also had a long-running bottle cap recycling program, although it ended in 2015. Through the program they collected around 145 million bottle caps, saving them from polluting waterways and taking up space in landfills.

Shopping for new makeup? Look for brands that have refillable containers. EccoBella is one brand that offers a refillable compact made of cardboard (although not for all of their products - my powder is apparently not refillable, although it does come in a cardboard compact.)

Other makeup recycling options:

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