In recent years, sustainability has been one of the key focus areas for companies in the cosmetic sector. From ethical sourcing to sustainable packaging, beauty brands are increasingly incorporating environmental factors into their decision-making process, and are taking different actions to reduce their carbon footprint.
But despite all the progress towards sustainability, makeup recycling still remains an unnoticed part.
How do you usually deal with your empty beauty products? Do you simply throw them away or have you tried recycling? Although most of our cosmetic products come in plastic packaging, recycling these containers is very different from recycling our daily food plastics. Makeup recycling is not very common, as the complex mix of material types used makes recycling the containers incredibly difficult. This creates a struggle for consumers, as there is simply no one taking them!
Luckily, this is not the end of the story. After all these years, multiple beauty chains have finally stepped up to offer this long-awaited option for consumers. This year, various cosmetic companies, such as Maybelline, rolled out makeup-recycling schemes to supermarkets and drugstores across the UK.
However, a recent survey by Maybelline showed that almost half of makeup users did not know that recycling beauty products was possible. Therefore, it is safe to say we are still quite new to this exciting option.
If makeup recycling is something unheard-of for you, you need to check out the list of recycling options down below. These programmes are not only easily-accessible. but some even offer rewards in return!
Maybelline Makeup Recycling Scheme
Maybelline has recently teamed up with Terracycle to enable consumers to help fight plastic waste by recycling their used makeup. The programme launched in over 1000 stores across the UK, and one of the closest collection boxes is inside Superdrug on Oxford Street. You can also check the location of other Manchester collection points using their interactive map.
Photo: @terracycleuk on Instagram
Maybelline’s recycling scheme accepts a wide range of products, including items from other brands. Makeup products like foundation bottles, palettes, mascaras, eyeliners, and lipstick tubes would be perfect for this programme. However, they do not accept makeup brushes and nail polish.
Once collected, the empties will be separated by polymer type, cleaned, then extruded into plastic pellets to make new, recycled products. In addition, Maybelline encourages customers to empty the containers completely before sending them away to help with the cleaning and recycling process.
Want Not Waste Manchester
Want Not Waste is a volunteer-run zero-waste shop in Manchester, that offers students a variety of recycling schemes. One of these is the Burt’s Bees Personal Care Recycling programme, which collects makeup products like eyeshadow compacts, lip products, mascara tubes, highlighters, and cheek products. The range of products they accept is slightly smaller than Maybelline’s counterpart, but it is also applicable to products of all brands.
In addition, Want Not Waste also recycles other unusual products, such as contact lenses and oral care products. Their location is the most convenient for University of Manchester’s students, since the shop is immediately outside the Students’ Union. Go check out all their schemes on their Facebook page, and simply drop off your items to their TerraCycle box next time when you walk by!
John Lewis & Partners BeautyCycle Scheme
BeautyCycle is a beauty-recycling scheme launched by John Lewis in partnership with TerraCycle, and since 2019, more than 150,000 customers have recycled with John Lewis. This scheme accepts both makeup and skincare products, such as foundation tubes, lip products, palettes, eyeliners. and mascaras. However, John Lewis does not accept items like aerosol cans, perfume bottles, and nail polish containers.
BeautyCycle is an exclusive service to My John Lewis members, but it is fairly easy to register as a member on their website, so remember to register in advance, which will also allow you to get rewards whenever you recycle with them! As a My John Lewis member, you can receive £5 off your next beauty purchase in their shops when you recycle five empty beauty products with their scheme. For people in Manchester, you will be able to access this scheme in their Trafford Centre store.
Kiehl’s Recycle and Be Rewards Scheme
Want to deal with your empty skincare products while earning rewards? Kiehl’s recycling hubs are the perfect choice for you. With locations across the country, its even easier to recycle any packaging. You can bring any plastic skincare packaging to their store, regardless of the brands, including face creams, sun creams, serums, and body lotions.
Photo: @terracycleuk on Instagram
You get one stamp for every skincare product donated to their UK boutique. For five stamps earned, you receive 5% off any product. While 10 stamps can get you a 10% off or a travel-size miniature of choice. This scheme is available in their in King Street boutique, and they are currently offering an online recycling service for customers who cannot access a local store right now.
Keep in mind that Kiehl’s only takes in skincare products so you can not recycle makeup products with them. It might be a good idea to check out their website for more information before you go into their stores.
Origins In-store Recycling
Back in 2009, Origins created the first recycling scheme in the beauty industry, called the Return to Origins Recycling Program. Throughout the years, Origins has been offering convenient in-store recycling to all consumers.
Origins are committed to reducing plastic waste, and their in-store recycling programme will help you recycle all kinds of plastic cosmetic packaging. Simply bring your empties from any brand into their designated stores and Origins will recycle them all with Wastecare. This programme is available in various spots in Manchester, and one of the closest is in House of Fraser, Manchester.
Recycle at Boots Scheme
This Recycle at Boots scheme allows consumers to recycle their used beauty products while earning rewards. Apart from cosmetic products, you can also bring back other wellness, healthcare, or dental products.
Before you recycle with Boots, make sure you register online to scan all the recycled products beforehand. When you bring your empties into a Boots store, you will need to scan the QR code on the deposit box to receive your rewards. Boots will reward you with 500 Boots Advantage Card Points for every five products, and that is worth £5!
Once the products are collected, they will be taken to ReWorked, where the materials will be washed, sorted, and recycled into new, reusable products as far as possible. With their Scan2Recycle technology, you can also track how much packaging has been recycled.
Boots’ new sustainability scheme is now available in 50 stores across the country, but unfortunately, the closest to Manchester is located in Cheshire.
The next time you finish a makeup product, consider taking it to one of these schemes, and recycle!