Beauty Packaging Recycling

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As New Year’s Resolutions go, resolving to recycle beauty packaging might not seem high on the priority list – but when we talk to women, we’re surprised to find how often this simple yet effective lifestyle step to treading more lightly on the planet is overlooked. Most of us are pretty good at recycling baked bean cans, wine bottles and cornflakes boxes – but that box that came with your moisturiser…? The lid of that moisturiser…? The pot it came in…? Doesn’t happen nearly so often.

Often, though, it’s because people are unsure about what and how. So Beauty Bible spoke to WRAP – the recycling organisation – to get the low-down on what can and can’t be recycled. As Alice Harlock, from Recycle Now, tells us: ‘As a nation we’ve done a great job of tackling recycling in recent years. But there is more we can do, and the bathroom is a great place to start. For example, it is estimated that 60% of glass is currently collected for recycling – which is great – but it would be even better if it was 100%! And glass face cream pots might be one of the things that usually get missed. It’s a small item for one person, but if each of us makes a little change to the way we deal with packaging in the bathroom it will make a big difference when added together.”

It might seem like a teeny jar or a lid – but imagine the mountains that simply end up in landfill, every year… A salutary thought, eh? So: here’s the low-down on what can and can’t be recycled.

Glass face cream pots. (Don’t forget the cardboard packaging it came in – and the little leaflet inside.)

Perfume and aftershave bottles.

Plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles.

Plastic moisturiser bottles. Think: hand cream and body lotion.

Aerosol deodorant cans.

Worried about product ‘residues’ or unsure about whether some bits should be binned? Follow these simple rules…

  1. Rinse first. Before putting plastic bottles in the recycling bin, if it’s easy/possible to do so, give them a quick rinse with hot water.
  1. Love your lids. Plastic caps – for instance, from deodorant cans and moisturiser bottles ­– can go in with the recycling, too.
  1. Remove your tops! Pump dispenser tops – for instance, on liquid soap bottles – should be removed and disposed of with your ordinary waste, as currently they can’t be recycled. (And this also means that if a perfume bottle has a spray attachment, this should be removed before recycling. If you can’t separate the two, alas you’ll have to put the bottle in the bin. We applaud the rising number of perfume brands – with Thierry Mugler leading the movement – to refill products, rather than force us to buy a whole new bottle each time.)
  1. Check it out. To find out where you can recycle beauty packaging close to you, visit: www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling.

And a few more tips…

Buy green. Burt’s Bees and Neal’s Yard, Recycle Now tell us, are among the brands leading the way when it comes to packaging made from recycled materials – which is great news for conserving precious raw materials.

Bag it up. If you tend to forget about putting beauty items for recycling in the recycling bin downstairs/wherever, try hanging a pretty reusable bag on your bathroom door.

Love your labels. Packaging labels and recycling symbols appear on many toiletries now (although we do concede you often need a magnifying glass to read them – which is why we keep one in the bathroom! Great for reading ingredients lists, too.) That way, you can feel more confident about what can and can’t be recycled.

Avoid one-use products. Single-use wipes can fill up the bin quickly – which is one reason we’re so keen on muslin cloths, for cleansing. (The other? It’ll lightly exfoliate skin each time you use one, leaving your skin brighter.)

We can’t help with your resolve to give up sugar or kick your 2 a.m. Instagram habit. But we hope that next time you finish that jar of face cream, you might give a thought to its future life…

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