Dear Recyclebank: How should you recycle cosmetics like mascara tubes and eyeshadow? –Renee M.
As you no doubt know, cosmetic packaging can vary widely, and some of it is made of mixed materials, which can complicate recycling. Your first step is going to be to clean out the containers thoroughly to avoid contamination of a recycling batch. Next, separate by material. Check to see if plastic packaging has a resin identification code and if your local recycling center accepts that type. Unfortunately, a lot of cosmetic packaging isn’t labeled or will be difficult to separate, but the Terracycle Personal Care and Beauty Brigade will accept a wide variety.
With some savvy shopping, you can find cosmetics with eco-friendly packaging and lessen your burden up front. Also, many cosmetics companies are cutting out the middleman and offering recycling programs of their own. For example, Aveda collects any of their packaging that curbside recycling programs don’t accept through their Full Circle program. Like Terracycle, Origins will accept even packaging from other brands through its collection program. Sometimes there are even perks for you. LUSH will give you a free face mask for every five black pots you bring back, and M·A·C will give you a free lipstick for every six containers! Green and gorgeous is a good combination.