Is My Beauty Stash Recyclable?

The impact of plastic on the environment feels like a never-ending struggle. At the end of last year, the Royal Statistical Society found that only 9% of all plastic is properly recycled. Whilst more brands are bringing out plastic alternatives, coffee-shops offering discounts to customers with reusable cups; the one area that I don’t think gets discussed enough is plastic and the beauty industry.

Various beauty products including lipstick, eyeshadow and blush

A lot of cosmetics from makeup to hair products are in plastic packaging. There are some products (predominantly in skincare/fragrance) that are glass, but most of your everyday products probably come in plastic packaging. Whilst my family and I are very good at recycling (or to the best of our knowledge) food plastics (ie. bottles, containers), most of the plastic outside of the kitchen gets chucked straight in the bin. 

What changes I want to make

Actually recycle my products. Some packaging lists whether it is (or parts of it) are recyclable (quick side note - there are different symbols for what is actually recyclable as they don’t all mean it is) so when possible, recycle it! Even if it ends up that not everything I recycle ends up being recycled or reused, there will be some things that can be.

Another thing is to reduce how much I am buying. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of beauty products whether its through gifts or my own purchases. Sometimes it is a repurchase, or something new to test out. It has meant that I’ve at least three or four of every single beauty product on the earth.. Or at least that’s how it feels! So I want to actually use what I have before purchasing something to replace it. Now I’ve allowed myself some exemptions like for when there is a new launch, I’m really excited about it and I want to feature in a blog post or on Instagram. Other than that, I want to only use what I’ve got. 

What have brands already done?

There are some brands that you can return empty products to such as MAC and The Body Shop - The Body Shop scheme is only available in certain stores (click here for the T&Cs). A huge majority of products from Lush (aside from bath bombs) are returnable, and they also have widened their selection of solid products including shampoos, body creams etc. Jo Malone launched their refillable solid perfumes, the case is £24, and the perfumes are £14. It also works out being cheaper than their usual fragrances. 

There is also a company called Terracycle which you can send products to where they can be recycled. Some brands work with Terracycle so it is worth checking out. There are also more sustainable brands out there such as Greenfrog Botanic

My biggest recommendation in this post is to do your research. We can all do our bit to reduce, reuse and recycle, or to the best of our ability. 

Do you recycle your beauty products?

Ellyn xx

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