How To Recycle Makeup Products?

By Rebekah Pierce

Did you know that the average woman uses around 12 cosmetic products every day? With numbers like that, it’s no wonder our landfills are overflowing with makeup packaging. But don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to recycle your old makeup products. In this post, we’ll show you how to recycle your old makeup products and reduce your environmental impact. 

How Do You Dispose Of Old Makeup Products?

Nearly 8 billion units of rigid plastic were used for beauty products in the US alone in 2018. Yikes!

When it comes to makeup, we all want to keep our products as fresh as possible. But sometimes, circumstances beyond our control force us to dispose of our old makeup products. Here are a few tips on how to properly dispose of your old makeup products.

Check the expiration date. Most makeup products have an expiration date, which is generally between 3 and 6 months after opening the product. If your product is expired, it’s time to toss it.

If your makeup product is still good but you’re no longer using it, consider donating or trading it to someone who will appreciate it. This is a great way to declutter your makeup collection while also doing some good for others.

Many makeup packaging components can be recycled – just be sure to check with your local recycling guidelines to see what’s accepted. And if all else fails, remember that most cosmetics can be disposed of in the regular trash.

Many people don’t know how to properly dispose of old makeup. Most just throw it away, not knowing that some materials can be recycled. Here are some tips on how to properly dispose of old makeup.  

By following these simple tips, you can help reduce waste and keep our planet clean!


Cellophane can be recycled at most stores that have a recycling bin. Just look for the symbol on the bin. 


Aerosols are tricky. You should always check the bottom of the can for the recycle symbol. If the can is empty, it can be recycled with other metals. If there is product still in the can, it should be disposed of with your local hazardous waste center. 

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles can also be recycled. However, you should check with your local recycling center to see if they recycle these containers. It may end up having to do with the size and color of the container.

Cotton Pads

The good news? Cotton pads can be composted! 

Glass Jars 

Most glass jars can easily be recycled, as long as they are washed out. 

Makeup Palettes 

Makeup palettes are usually too complicated for recycling facilities to accept. 

Makeup Brushes

These can be cleaned and reused. If they’re past cleaning, the trash might be the best option since it’s too hard for most recycling facilities to separate the components. 

Are Makeup Products Recyclable?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the recycling process of your makeup products. But you need to!

Find Out What Can And Can’t Be Recycled 

Recycling can be confusing. It seems like everything can be recycled these days, but that’s not actually the case. The same is true for makeup products. While some makeup containers can be recycled, others cannot. So, what can be recycled? And what should you do with those items that can’t be recycled?

The easiest way to figure this out is to call your local recycling facility. They should be able to give you an idea of which makeup products they accept. 

Check The Product Label

The first step is to check the label. Most makeup containers will have a recycle symbol on them, which will tell you whether or not the container can be recycled. If the symbol is a triangle with an arrow inside of it, then the container can be recycled. However, if the symbol is a triangle with a line across it, then the container cannot be recycled. 

Be Careful With Small Items

Be careful with small items like lipstick tubes and eyeshadow palettes. Make sure they go into the right recycling bin, or better yet, see if you can find a way to reuse them. They often aren’t accepted by recycling facilities due to their size, and including them in your recycling can lead to major problems for the facility. 

Pumps, Squeeze Tubes, Pouches, And Droppers Are Problematic

And although we recycle most of our household waste, there are some things that just can’t be recycled – like those pesky plastic pumps, squeeze tubes, and droppers. According to Zero Waste Week, an estimated 120 billion units of packaging in landfills every year are pumps, dispensers, and other single-use plastics.

While it’s important to recycle what we can, it’s even more important to reduce our reliance on these problem products in the first place. We can all do our part by supporting brands that are making an effort to be more sustainable and choosing products packaged in glass or recyclable materials whenever possible.

What Can You Do With Leftover Beauty Products?

There’s nothing worse than a beauty product that goes to waste. But what do you do when your products are past their prime? Here are a few options – and check out the video below for more recycling tips.

Return To The Brand

Whether you’ve decided to switch up your look or you simply have too many products on hand, returning beauty products can be a tricky endeavor. 

However, there are a few options for getting rid of unwanted beauty products. If the product is unopened and within the return window, take it back to the store where you purchased it. You’ll likely receive a full refund, which you can then use to purchase something else.

There are many companies that accept unused makeup products or their containers, too. In some cases, you’ll even get a refund or store credit!

Some brands that accept leftover beauty products include:

  • Kiehl’s
  • Colgate
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Back to Mac
  • Garnier
  • Lush
  • Herbal Essences

…and many more!


The TerraCycle recycling program is a great way to recycle hard-to-recycle materials. Through the program, you can recycle items like toothbrushes, candy wrappers, and coffee pods. The program is easy to use – simply collect your recyclables and send them to TerraCycle.

Garnier Free Recycle Program

Looking to do your part for the environment? Garnier has got you covered with their Free Recycle Program. Simply collect any used Garnier products, including bottles, caps, and pumps, and send them back to the company. They will then recycle the materials for you.

So why not join the Free Recycle Program today? It’s easy, it’s green, and it could save you money on your next beauty purchase.

How Do You Clean Makeup Bottles For Recycling?

Most makeup bottles are made of plastic, which means they can be recycled. However, before you recycle your makeup bottles, it’s important to clean them out first. Otherwise, they could contaminate other recyclables. 

To clean makeup bottles for recycling, start by removing the lid and any pump dispensers. 

Next, rinse out the bottle with warm water. If there is any lingering makeup residue, use a mild soap or detergent to wash it away. Once the bottles are clean, be sure to dry them completely before recycling. With a little effort, you can help to ensure that your makeup bottles don’t end up in the landfill.

Consider Refillables And Other Eco-Friendly Alternatives 

So, what can you do to reduce the amount of waste your beauty routine creates? We’ve got a few tips for you. 

First, try using all of a product before throwing it away- even if it means mixing and matching products to get the color or effect you want. Second, think about buying in bulk or sharing products with friends. Using refillables is another smart way to cut down on the amount of waste you produce. 

And finally, when it’s time to say goodbye to a favorite makeup item, give it new life by recycling it. There are plenty of ways to recycle old makeup- from turning it into new products entirely to giving it a second life as an art supply. 

With a little creativity and effort, we can all make small changes that add up to big reductions in our personal lives!

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