You do need to decide where your personal line is (how large your cosmetic collection is) and how important it is that products are made from sustainable sources.
Those are decisions you’ll need to think about, change, and revise on your journey.
There is one change that you can make that will help to reduce the carbon footprint of your makeup and skin care.
Most cosmetics and skin care products come in smaller containers that are made out of a dense, hard type of plastic that isn't recycled by most recycling companies, it’s pretty common that most of us just throw it into the garbage without even thinking about it.
Why it is important to recycle
It’s important to try to recycle your cosmetics for two reasons:
- Women typically use twelve different skin care and cosmetics products daily.
Multiply that by over 112 million women (and growing) and you’ll see that there’s a lot of plastic not getting recycled.
- Many cosmetic products and personal care products, when thrown out, contribute to the chemical contamination of fresh and ocean water.
The majority of water treatment plants aren't going to be able to break down all of the toxins that come from many personal care products.
How to Recycle Your Cosmetic Containers
The easiest way to reduce your cosmetic carbon footprint is to look for products that include environmentally sound packaging made from consumer materials.
If your cosmetics company doesn't do that, here are some tips.
- Some personal care companies actually offer not only the ability to bring containers back for recycling but also incentives to do so.
MAC, Kiehl’s, Origins and Aveda are just a few.
It’s worth an email (or better yet a public post to your favorite brand’s Facebook page) to see if there’s already a program that you can use.
- Very few recycling programs accept plastic caps.
(The hard plastic caps on the tops of things like shampoo bottles and skin care products.)
Call your local recycling center, if they don’t accept hard caps you can save them up and then send them to . Caps-n-Cups partners to create a volume of these more difficult to recycle plastics types and then recycles them.
- Before you assume that you can’t recycle your harder plastic cosmetic containers with your regular recycling, do some research in your town or city.
Many local recycling programs are expanding and finding more and better ways to reduce landfill waste.
It’s worth a call or email to your local recycling center to find out what’s available.
- Recycling isn't the only way to reduce waste.
Many cosmetics containers may have other uses that you can recycle them into.
From larger eye shadow tins to small bottles, you may find that you have needs that could be met with your own cosmetics containers.
- If you are going to put your cosmetics containers directly into the trash, clean out all of the remainder and be careful how you dispose of it.
Beauty is always fun, but a few short decisions can make even the more elaborate beauty routine, a little more friendly to the environment.