Our bathrooms are filled with non-recyclable items. Beauty, cosmetics, and skin care product packaging are often made of plastic. Can’t I recycle it all curbside? As if!

The ugly truth: The small sizes of the caps, pots, wands, trays of makeup and tubes of skin care fall through the cracks at recycling facilities. Packages made with several pieces (i.e. metal spring in a plastic pump top, tube made of layers of plastic and foil) require separating.

Nearly every color of plastic that isn’t clear or white (most beauty packages) is considered non-recyclable, because colors cannot be turned into any other color. And don’t get us started on “recycling numbers” — there are no such thing! 

With the high collection and processing costs for most personal care and cosmetics, landfilling and incineration are considered the easiest, least costly options for your local programs. Of course, this is at the expense of the environment, and the demand for accessible recycling options for cosmetic and beauty care products is recognized around the globe. 

Clean and responsibly-sourced ingredients are increasingly important to people of all ages and backgrounds, as is the impact the products we buy make on the planet. So, many conscious beauty brands around the world team up with us at TerraCycle to ensure their products have a positive impact – from the ingredients on the inside, to the packaging on the outside. 

Premium and start-up beauty brands like Beekman 1802, Paula’s Choice, and TULA Skincare® offer easy, free ways you can keep their #empties out of the environment. The iconic bliss® and LimeLife by Alcone legacy brands have also made recycling part of a new generation of beauty enthusiasts, while the amika network of influencers make it part of their DNA.

Retail storefronts for the L’Occitane en Provence® luxury brand have stepped up to serve as drop-off points for its brand of empties, often in exchange for a percentage off purchase, and the leading fashion retailer Nordstrom has made it simple and accessible to recycle any and all brands of beauty, cosmetics, and personal care at participating locations. 

Those familiar with TerraCycle know we believe everything is technically recyclable, having proven items such as cigarettes, chewing gum, and even dirty diapers can be repurposed into material for new products. The technology is there. But by sponsoring a national solution, beauty brands working with us also support an end-market for the material, ensuring the beauty and cosmetics empties are cycled around and turned into something new.

Not all plastics are considered recyclable, but personal care and cosmetics products are updating their offerings to address our desires to recycle more and reduce our impacts. 

By choosing brands committed to this ethos, you support companies and manufacturers stepping up to change, drive a shift away from the “business as usual” of non-recyclability, and create a more beautiful beauty industry overall.

This Earth Month and beyond, Restore the Earth — Recycle Beauty #Empties!

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