The correlation between the pandemic and the way we view the cleanliness around us has rapidly changed ever since the start of the COVID-19. Sustainable practices including reducing plastic footprint, opting for a zero waste approach and choosing a more environmentally-friendly life are the movement that everyone started to adapt to. And that includes the shift in the beauty industry. We saw the rise of big brands opting for reusable packaging, adapting towards clean-beauty ingredients and of course recycling used-products. 

When mentioning recycling beauty products, people often get confused on how things would work. Like how can used makeup or skincare products get recycled? Caps and lids need to be properly separated, branding labels need to be removed, pumps need to be carefully taken out, and of course staying away from considered hazardous products to ensure total safety of surroundings.

I know everything needs to be precise, but what if I tell you that recycling beauty products is actually a lot easier than it seems? 

From your glass-bottled perfume to plastic shampoo bottles, even your expensive hair straighteners that can no longer be used, recycling and disposing of your beauty and skincare products actually contribute to a lot of healthier and safer environments. Here, Beauty Insider shows the right way to start recycling your beauty items. 

Source: Pexel

Why Does Makeup Have an Expiration Date? 

Just like foods and beverages, your beauty products also came in with expiration dates. And just like foods, expiration dates were set by the companies to ensure the quality of their products, their performances and more importantly to keep you safe. Every product that is produced with active ingredients inside can dry out, separate, rusted and degrade throughout time. And the results? They’ll appear rough, clumpy and dangerous to be applied to your skin. All of these can lead to rashness, inflammation and worse, skin cancer.

But that’s not all though, whether you’re aware or not, beauty products are mostly prone to trapped bacteria. How can they not? Imagine all those dirty brushes and dirty fingers transferring from one product to another—creating a huge amount of clampiness. This is when expiration dates came into play. When you start to notice there’s a slight change in texture, colour or quality, you know that’s the time to toss it out. Particularly, eye products like eyeshadow palettes, because they can be very very dangerous. 

Read: Don’t Throw Away Your Expired Eyeshadow Palette, Do These Instead

Why Should We Recycle Our Beauty Items?

The world is slowly ‘’healing’’—from an excessive amount of international travel, hyper-consumption of consumer goods, the fast-fashion manufacturing, and most importantly the production within the cosmetic industry—are all slowly playing their parts to mitigate the condition of the planet earth. And when we mentioned ‘’sustainable practices’’ among the cosmetic industry, we’re clearly aware that beauty moguls across the world are taking more precautious ways in creating zero waste packaging, environmentally-friendly and most importantly, reducing plastic footprint.

But above all, how can we, as a consumer, help to play our part as well? Surprisingly, there’s a lot of different methods you could use to recycle or reuse your old, expensive beauty products. Let’s face it, everyone (including me) who owns makeup products, as small as it seems, there will come a time when you know you should get rid of them, no matter the reasons behind—expired products, non-suitable ingredients, wrong shades, so on and so forth.

Especially when you know you invested so much money into purchasing those products. But fret not, just as the usage of beauty products are customizable, so are their packaging. 

Clean Them Off, First & Foremost 

As much as you want to bid farewell to your old and expired items, always make sure they are in proper condition. At least, ensure the cleanliness of the surface. When it comes to bottled products like shampoo, conditioner and foundation, make sure there’s no products left inside. Otherwise, the company will have a hard time recycling them off.

We suggest taking the leftover products out and making sure to rinse them a couple of times to ensure that they’re clean enough to be dropped off. Especially hazardous and harmful products that contain inflammatory elements like hairspray. If not taken care of properly, it can result in environmental damage. So please clean them off first. 

Just Drop Your Items Away

As mentioned earlier, recycling your beauty products is a lot easier than most people think. Just like you recycling your old clothes, newspaper and empty bottles—your used makeup items can be taken and dropped to the nearest recycling drop-off point. And ever since more brands started to encourage recycling, big names like Kihels, Maybelline and The Body Shop recently announced that they are advocating towards the recycling movement, hence, they decided to partner up with national waste companies to do the work.

You can easily visit their official store to drop off your usable and expired products. There are endless other brands that offer this manoeuvre, all for the sake of a healthier environment. 

Separate Them Wisely 

Always read the instructions on your product label carefully. Most recycle centres will have the bin ready accordingly, so make sure you know which items are suitable for which bin. For example, high density polyethylene—better known as HDPE—bottles are often used for personal care products and can be identified by the number 2 on the bottle. HDPE bottles are highly recyclable and can be recycled into common recycle drop points like garbage bags, bins, and even plastic lumber.

To make it more understandable, most HDPE products come off with glass bottles. Mainly perfumes, foundation and others. For plastic bottles, we encourage you to find a proper beauty drop off bin like Maybelline, Kiehls, and The Body Shop. 

Don’t Simply Throw Your Hair Tools

I know there will come a point where your hair tools will no longer serve you. But please bear in mind to not simply ditch them away in a rubbish bin. This act will create a large amount of waste that can ruin the environment. They can’t decompose that easily. We suggest you drop them off gently at a special recycle or up-cycle centre. Again, check your local beauty shop that offers beauty tools recycle bins. If not, since hair tools like hair straightening, hair curlers and hair dryers are considered electronic tools, survey an electrical shop that accepts usable items.

Electronics items (including your waxing machine and face steamers) need to be properly disposed of, removed and separated before having the items shredded. Each component and tool needs a specific breakdown, so they’ll be easy for smelting off. So we recommend always double, triple check. 

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