I’m on a mission to declutter and minimize my makeup collection but to do so responsibly. My goal is to send as little as possible to the landfill. And I thought I’d document my journey and share what I learned along the way!
Why does this matter?
I hate to admit this but I used to just toss my unwanted makeup products into the trash. If I was able to empty out the contents, I would put them into my curbside recycling bin, not paying attention to whether each component was recyclable or not. And I figured if it wasn’t then the recycling facility will just “handle it”.
I learned this can actually do more damage than good.
Wishcycling is when you’re not sure if something is recyclable but you put it in the recycling bin anyway and essentially hoping & wishing that it will be properly handled by the recycling facility.
I love this quote by Recycle Coach that sums up wishcycling, “simply wishing for something to be recyclable doesn’t make it so.”
By putting a non-recyclable item into the recycling bin may lead to contamination where the whole bin may no longer be considered recyclable anymore. And this is troubling because the entire content of the bin is rejected and ends up in the landfill. All because of that one item I was ‘wishing’ to be recyclable.
Even with the best of intentions, I didn’t realize I might have been contributing to more waste by the act of wishcycling and throwing a bunch of empty (non-recyclable) makeup containers into my recycling bin.
So, I felt that my first order of business was to understand which of my unwanted cosmetics packaging are recyclable or not. And then find out what can go into my curbside recycling bin. During this time, I will be mindful of what I can perhaps donate or give away to avoid the landfill and recycling altogether.
I started with my collection of mineral makeup.
There was a point in time where I would exclusively use mineral makeup but I no longer enjoy using them because they’re just too messy to use.
But I kept them this whole time because I thought I would go back to using them one day. But it’s been years and I haven’t reached for many of them. So I emailed the brands of cruelty-free & vegan mineral makeup that I own to ask if their packaging is recyclable and what each component was made of. Here’s what I found out:
Honeypie Minerals – confirmed their plastic jars are recyclable and made from polypropylene and ABS plastic.
Also, I wanted to mention that Honeypie Minerals does offer zero-waste refills of their mineral makeup. The refills come in plastic-free, biodegradable, and compostable pouches. If I were to ever get back into mineral makeup, I would definitely get their refills!
Everyday Minerals – confirmed their containers are recyclable but they did not state what materials they’re made from.
Everyday Minerals also told me they have a recycling program where I can send back 8 full-size containers and they’ll give me a full-size blush in return.
I asked them if I could just send back my four mini containers for them to recycle & forego getting the blush. I also asked them if their send-back recycling scheme was free or if I had to pay for postage. They responded back and seemed willing to accept my four mini containers but they couldn’t provide me with a prepaid shipping label because I live in Canada.
I’m also curious to know if anyone is actually able to go through 8 full-size products of theirs. I’ve used one of the mini blush for 3 years and it’s still not empty!
I was actually planning on keeping two of their products but I think I might try to donate or give them away as a group now.
Medusa’s Makeup – they told me their packaging is recyclable but they did not disclose what materials their packaging is made of. These are mostly unused products so I’ll try my best to donate or give them away to someone who would use these.
I got all of these products in PR when Medusa’s Makeup used to send me their subscription box. Looking at my makeup collection, I realize subscription boxes are not for me anymore as I have more than enough products and I’m usually sent colors that I wouldn’t typically wear.
bareMinerals – they offer a recycling program where you can drop off empty beauty products (from any brand) at one of their boutiques. But I won’t be able to get myself to one of their boutiques as my city is going into another lockdown and I’d like to avoid shopping malls at this time. I emailed bareMinerals to ask if I could mail it in but they never responded back.
I’ve had their matte mineral foundation for YEARS. So, this will be going to recycling for sure.
Concrete Minerals – confirmed their containers are made from polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG), where they explained, “derived from polyester, PETG is 100 percent recyclable, biodegradable, and non-gaseous!!”
The black container doesn’t come with a sift, so this was very difficult to use without creating a mess. I don’t think it will be appropriate to donate or give away.
What I’ve Learned So Far:
- Wishcycling, even with the best of intentions, can do more damage than good
- It seems like most mineral makeup containers are recyclable
- Noticed that the smaller indie brands are willing to disclose what plastic materials their containers are made from
- Even if a company offers a recycling program, it might not be available for all
- And realizing that beauty subscription boxes are no longer suited for me and my journey to living minimally
Next is finding where to recycle these containers (during a pandemic)! Stay tuned.
This is part one out of a series of posts where I share my journey to decluttering my makeup collection responsibly. I will be looking into recycling lip products and makeup compacts in the coming weeks, so follow along and I hope you learned something as well!
And if you have any tips, advice, or helpful insight on how to responsibly recycle or declutter beauty products, please share them in the comments!