Here's What You Need To Know About Recycling Your Old Beauty Products
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE DIFFICULT TO RECYCLE OLD LIPSTICKS AND EMPTY EYE SHADOW PALLETS? HOW ABOUT OLD TOOTHBRUSHES, USED TOOTHPASTE TUBES AND FLOSSING BOXES? NOT TO MENTION OTHER PERSONAL PRODUCT PACKAGING SUCH AS TRIGGER HEADS AND THOSE PUMP TAPS FOR HAND WASH AND OTHER CLEANSERS?
We took a hard look at the cosmetic industry and its implications for our health and that of the planet, including the massive amount of waste associated with the industry. According to a European Union Green Paper on plastic waste, 80% of plastic polluting the ocean comes from poor waste management on the land. For those of us committed to recycling in order to divert plastic from fragile environments, these personal grooming products pose a real headache.
According to Stephen Clarke, Head of Communications at Terracycle Europe,"120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry" and recycling them can be hard. The problem is that many of these items are made of blended materials that can't be easily recycled. Furthermore, recycling becomes virtually impossible if there's any leftover product in the tube or container.
Beauty businesses are switching to more sustainable practices
The good news is that certain beauty companies are making efforts to make it easier for us to recycle their packaging and products. By cleaning up their act and improving the sustainability of their packaging products, they can ensure we can recycle them in our municipal recycling schemes. Many brands claim that all of their products are packaged in sustainable or recycled materials, and easy to recycle at the end of life.
Lush, for instance, make 35% of their products "naked" which means they are sold with no packaging. Their other products that come in pots and bottles are sold in 10% post-consumer plastic, which can be recycled in your city's recycling program or taken back to the Lush store for recycling. They then chip them down and remold them into more pots for their products, which creates a closed loop system. They also make 100% biodegradable packaging to protect their products for mail order packages, this is a cellophane that looks like plastic but actually can go straight into your compost! They are continuously improving their packaging as well, in the aim to be completely plastic free.
Be wary of companies that offer a reward for your recycling efforts.
You have to bear in mind that these schemes don't exist purely to encourage you to to recycle: of course it's a way to ensure that you also buy more of their products, when perhaps we just ought to be thinking about buying less… And whilst these are all positive steps in the right direction, who seriously has time for all of that. Not surprisingly, many people feel like recycling is a chore when you're having to return to point of purchase to do the right thing!