How To Recycle Old Makeup If You Have Empty Compacts Stacked Up On Your Vanity

When your mascara gets too clumpy and your lipstick starts to crumble, you know it's time to clean out your makeup bag and get some new products. But before you just toss them in the trash, I would totally encourage you to check out how to recycle old makeup! It's easier than you think, and you'll get all those feel good earth-loving vibes just in time for Earth Day on April 22.

First and foremost, I want to point out that simply trashing your cosmetics is actually straight up harmful for your health and the environment. Divine Caroline explained, "Most brands’ lipsticks contain petrochemicals and lead acetates. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that one third of brand-name lipsticks contain lead in levels exceeding the federal limit for safety and that improper disposal of those lipsticks contaminates landfills and groundwater." Yikes.

Though you can't recycle old makeup itself, you can dispose of cosmetics properly and recycle the packaging and containers. Eco Life shared the safest way to get rid of old cosmetics, and advised, "Carefully remove [makeup] from the containers and put it all in a sealed jar or packaging that you can then send to the landfill." That way, no harmful chemicals can leak out.

As for recycling the packaging and containers, there are several easy, sustainable, and effective ways to go about it. Scroll through the tips below to find the right strategy for you!

1. Container Reuse

Miss Dior Eau De Parfum, $74, Sephora

If you're a DIY fan, get creative with ways to repurpose old makeup containers. Some of my favorites include using perfume bottles as small vases for flowers, and filling old chapstick containers with DIY lip balms and scrubs!

2. Store Drop-Offs

Earth 991 shared that several awesome cosmetics companies including M.A.C., Origins, and Aveda all have recycling programs. For M.A.C., you can return six M.A.C. product containers to get a free lipstick. Origins accepts any brand's cosmetics packaging and containers (usually you'll get a free sample in exchange!). Lastly, Aveda takes caps from any brand's cosmetics, too.

3. Mail-In Programs

TerraCycle and Garnier teamed up to accept mailed-in cosmetic containers and packaging for recycling, including both hair care and makeup containers. Look through the TerraCycle website to learn exactly what they'll accept if you're unsure!

4. More Sustainable Cosmetic Purchases

Z Palette, $10, Sephora

As you're restocking your makeup bag, consider purchasing from brands that offer refillable makeup pans like Tarte, Smashbox, Mary Kay, and Sephora to prevent waste.

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Images: Manu Camargo, Jessica Weiller, Xavier Massa/Unsplash; Pixabay; Courtesy of Brand