Sustainability and clean skin care doesn’t begin and end with the product itself. We believe that in order to create sustainable skin care that truly values nature, the entire process matters, from ingredients and where they’re sourced, to the very end when the product is all used up. This week we’re focusing on that moment—when the product you love is gone and it’s time to recycle.
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Why Recycle Beauty Products?
Though recycling is hardly a new topic in the public consciousness, the impact of single-use plastic has received renewed and well-deserved attention. Much of this conversation developed around the use of plastic straws, and how much plastic ends up in the ocean (about 8 million metric tons a year).
Recycling ensures that materials like metal, glass, and certain types of plastic, are sent to facilities that can process them to reuse instead of ending up in a landfill or somewhere worse. The more recycled materials used, the less we have to reap fresh from the natural environment, which is why recycling is vital for anyone focused on living a clean lifestyle.
While it has its downsides, glass is one material commonly used in beauty product packaging that can be recycled over and over again. Plastic, even recyclable plastic, degrades over time, though it still immune to being completely broken down by bacteria like carbon-based products. So that means even though the plastic can’t be used again commercially, it will still remain in a landfill for a very, very long time.
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Simple Steps to Recycling Beauty Products
Sometimes recycling can be complicated, but don’t let that intimidate you. Once you know the process —which may vary depending on your area— it all becomes much simpler.
First, always rinse out your bottles, no matter what the material of the container is or the product type. Then if possible, remove any labels on the outside. Depending on the style of container, the top may or may not be recyclable—caps that are made out of the same material as the bottle should stay on, but rubber droppers may not be. Small items, like those pesky caps, can’t be recycled on their own, but only as part of a larger container.
Then, check the container itself for the universal recycling symbol. This will tell you if the container is, in general, recyclable. This is also something to look for when you’re considering buying a product in the first place. If the container is plastic, there will also be a number that says what kind of plastic it’s made from. The most universally accepted plastic is 1, while plastic 3 is PVC, which unfortunately has to go in the trash.
Check for a Beauty Products Recycling Program
So, that’s a little complicated. But fortunately, many brands out there have in-house or partnered recycling programs that are not only good for the earth, but also give a little back to you. For any product that is complicated to recycle yourself, like multilayered toothpaste tubes, lipstick tubes, or pump bottles, research whether or not they have a recycling program themselves. Though this step may be a little more time consuming, oftentimes these programs reward you with a free product after you recycle several containers. Even brands that are not normally associated with sustainability have such programs.
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Working together with nature is an integral part of our philosophy, which means that our packaging is of course recyclable. Our Facial Recovery Elixir Face Oil and Radiance Boosting Skin Serum use glass, which as we’ve covered so far is 100% recyclable. Our Deeply Cleansing Milk Face Cleanser comes in a recyclable plastic 1 container. While for the time being this container is plastic, we’re always looking into ways to transitioning into using glass for all our products.
Recyclable Speed Round
Can you recycle it—yes or no?
No: lipstick tubes (unless the brand as a specialty program); nail polish; layered face-mask pouches; pump tops; eyeshadow pans; mascara wands (but you can donate them to wildlife organizations!); cotton pads (but they can be composted).
Yes: aerosols (like hairspray and dry-shampoo); tools like straighteners and curling wands; and of course, everything we’ve already mentioned above.