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Because You Asked

Because You Asked: How Do I Recycle Mascara Tubes?

By Recyclebank |

The spectrum of makeup packaging can rival the products within. Try recycling cosmetics packaging through specialty programs.

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.


What are your favorite cosmetics brand that encourage recycling? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Angel's O. 2 months ago
    I like origins. Simple and fun. Bring in an empty, leave with something new.
  • Linda W. 3 months ago
    I had been looking for a little little brush, to clean the ports and such on hummingbird feeders, and viola! Those mascara wands will clean up and work perfectly! Saved me buying a specialty brush for just that! (Dropping mic)
  • Marian R. 3 months ago
    I love MAC They encourage you to recycle
  • Sharon A. 5 months ago
    It's good that makeup companies are coming aboard .
    Now we need more Petco and Pet smart stores to come aboard to help with recycling all that food,and things
  • Melissa H. 8 months ago
    If you're into DIY beauty stuff, you can repurpose containers. I've been given some metal Aura Cacia spray bottles that I've reused for various body sprays and hair treatments. You can also boil lip balm containers and reuse them if you make your own lip balm. And you can clean out mascara tubes and use them for eyelash treatments, or to store homemade mascara.
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