There is still much-needed room for improvement in America when it comes to recycling, as approximately 80% of the things that Americans dispose of in the trash can be recycled. Recycling can pave the way for a brighter future for the planet. In fact, recycled materials that undergo processing to manufacture new items use less energy than new materials. This means that fewer greenhouse gases are emitted, which means that fewer toxic pollutants are impacting the air.

Chances are the things you throw away include the hairspray you used for months or that facial cleanser that promises to free your skin of all its imperfections. In reality, though, those things should have been recycled, but local regulations, cleaning the container, and throwing away metal springs dictate how beauty products are to be recycled.

How to Keep the Planet Beautiful with your Beauty Routine

When it comes to recycling beauty products, the solutions don’t stop at simply tossing your products in the recycling bin. In fact, try making a change in how and where you shop. The best solution in working towards being a more conscious beauty consumer is buying products in bulk instead of making multiple rounds to the store. Buy products that are doing their part to help the planet or are supporting programs that promote recycling and reusable practices, such as refillable-deodorant brand, Wild. Makeup brand Kjaer Weis has an “intelligent refill system,” which allows customers to refill their Kjaer Weis products.

To find out how we can all become more savvy recyclers of personal care products, we chatted with Randy Hartmann, Senior Director of Affiliate Operations at Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit that educates the American public on how it can keep the Earth clean through various programs and initiatives. Below, read on to learn the do’s and don’ts before tossing out your beauty products.


Don’t: Throw out Small or Unfinished Product Containers

According to Hartmann, products smaller than 3 inches in length cannot be recycled, and should be thrown in the trash. If you’re looking to recycle a personal care product, though, make sure to empty all of the remaining product in the container. So, be sure to make the most of your products and use it up until the very last drop. Otherwise, it runs the risk of tainting other recyclables when it goes through processing at a recycling facility. To ensure I get all the gunk out of my products, I always cut them open with a scissors to make sure that all the residue is gone.

assorted-color fragrance bottle photo

Do: Paper, Glass, Plastic and Metal are all A-Ok

Most products with paper, glass, plastic, or metal packaging are acceptable to throw away in the recycling bin. Hartmann advises to always check out your city’s recycling regulations to know which types of paper, glass, plastic, or metal materials are acceptable for recycling. “If your local recycling program accepts plastic laundry and milk jugs, chances are they will accept any empty plastic bottle that holds shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and/or soap,” he says. Basically, the products that you use to wash your face, hands, hair, and body every day can be recycled

white and black nivea soft tube

Don’t: Toss out Products with a Metal Spring

For any product that has a pump – think hair sprays or hand soap – it probably has a metal spring, too. While the hair spray and hand soap bottles may be tossed to the recycles, the metal spring can’t. Before heading to the recycling bin, make sure that your containers with a pump are free of any metal springs.

Do: Purchase Products Made with Recycled Materials

Even though properly recycling our used beauty products is giving Mother Earth the love it needs, Hartmann says buying products made from sustainable materials is another way to show Earth that you care. Below, check out these brands that designed products with Mother Earth’s wellbeing at top of mind:

We Are Paradoxx This haircare brand claims all its products are 90 per cent plastic free and their packaging is made of aluminum, which can be recycled and reused indefinitely. Can it get any better than that?!

Love Beauty and Planet – For both your skincare and haircare needs, I suggest taking a look at this brand. Each product’s packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials (aka PCR), which means that the packaging material has already been recycled! This brand truly lives up to its mission of “looking good and doing good.” Love Beauty and Planet has supported numerous initiatives focused on helping the environment, such as partnering with Ashoka, an international organization that provides funding to changemakers around the world.

Necessaire – This brand is always praised for the quality of its products . What makes them even better, though, is that they’re part of 1% For the Planet, an organization consisting of companies that promise to donate at least 1% of their annual earnings to environmental organizations! Each box that houses their products is comprised of 85% post-consumer waste and 100% recyclable paper. Know that when buying from Necessaire, your money is truly in good hands and goes towards supporting the environment.

You can make a difference!

Our advice? Before throwing out your beauty products for good, check out the website of your local government to know what’s allowed to be thrown in the recycling bin. As always, check to make sure the container is free of all product, and you’re set! Go the extra mile to support recycling efforts by supporting brands that are either doing their part to help environmental initiatives or have included environmentally-friendly practices in their manufacturing operations. No action is too small to make a difference!