Makeup containers waiting to be recycled.

How to Recycle Makeup Containers in Eco-Friendly Ways

How to Recycle and Dispose of Makeup Containers

When you have an extensive makeup collection, it is easy to acquire plenty of containers and packaging. Therefore, it is important to know how to recycle and dispose of makeup containers.

Different types of makeup containers include:

  • Mascara tubes and wands.
  • Empty eyeshadow pallets.
  • Mist sprayers.
  • Plastic bottles.
  • Lipstick tubes.
  • Deodorant bottles.
  • Perfume bottles.
  • Skin care tubs.
  • Foam bottles.
  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles.
  • Lotion bottles.
  • Hand wash dispensers and pumps.
  • Deodorant sticks.
  • Foam bottles.
  • Foundation pots and bottles.
  • Eyeliner tubes and pots.

Even though there are a lot of products with plastic packaging, there are some makeup containers that are biodegradable and eco-friendly, such as wooden and bamboo packaging.

No matter how big your makeup collection is, you can find plenty of ways to reuse or recycle makeup containers or dispose of them in the correct way. Here are some of the ways to dispose of makeup containers— ethically and consciously.

Why Recycling is the Better Option

Even though throwing away empty product containers might seem like the most obvious choice, this is much more harmful to the planet because disposing of makeup containers means that they will end up in landfill sites or in the sea.

If you want to throw away makeup containers, then it is best to get rid of wooden and bamboo containers because these are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Also, make sure you wash off any residue and leftover makeup before disposing of makeup containers to prevent chemicals from damaging the planet.

Instead of resorting to throwing away makeup containers, you can recycle them. Before doing this, you need to take a couple of important steps first.

First of all, look for the recycling label on the container to ensure that the item can be recycled. Check your local authority’s rules on recycling. Then, wash out the container to get rid of any leftover residue and put away to be recycled.

Recycling Initiatives and Programs

Some beauty brands run recycling initiatives and programs, so you can send in empty containers and they can be reused by the brand. Some brands use the packaging to reuse and recreate new packaging instead of using up new materials to create new containers.


Upcycling means transforming old products into new ones. It is a creative way to reuse products and an alternative to recycling or throwing away. With upcycling, you can design products from old makeup containers to make items of better quality without having to damage the environment or drain your bank balance.

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An alternative solution is to reuse the makeup containers. You can use them to dispense new products or makeup and skincare formulas that you have made yourself.

For Future Reference

When shopping for makeup products in the future, it is important to make mindful, wise and conscious choices that are environmentally friendly. Go for products with recyclable, reusable and refillable packaging. These can include multi-purpose items, such as two-in-one shampoos and lip and cheek tints. This helps to cut down on the number of products and prevent excess. Also, make sure you do your research and buy cosmetic brands that are taking on zero waste initiatives and doing their bit to create products that are easy to reuse and recycle.

What Can Be Recycled and What Can’t Be?

  • Plastic bottles, such as mascara tubes and makeup cleanser tubes can be recycled, but always make sure to double check the packaging and your local authority’s recycling rules. As well, make sure these are cleaned out first.
  • Most setting sprays can be recycled, but make sure they are completely empty beforehand.
  • Lipsticks, mascara wands, pumps, sheet masks, roll-on deodorants, eyeshadow, bronzer and blusher palettes are complicated to recycle because of the different materials used to create these products, but there are recycling programs run by some beauty brands that will accept these items.
  • Unfortunately, nail varnish and makeup brushes cannot be recycled, so they must be disposed of, but make sure they are deep cleaned beforehand.
  • Glass jars that have been emptied and cleaned out are easy to recycle, so you can put these in your recycling bin, or you can reuse or upcycle these.

Focus on What You Have

Another option to help the environment is not buying any new beauty products at all, focusing only on using the ones you have already. The purpose of this is to prevent yourself from acquiring more products and in turn, more waste. It is a great way to become more conscious of what you own instead of resorting to regular purchases. It is also a minimalistic approach to help keep your collection down and to make use of all the products you love.