How to recycle beauty products (What happens with the packages?)

How to recycle beauty products (What happens with the packages?) - Cosmetic World

Who doesn't want to live in a cleaner and eco-friendly world? Have you ever wondered what happens to all that empty beauty products? I personally practice waste segregation all the time even with beauty products, I rinse the packaging and throw it away for recycling. But is this right, and what happens from there? I've researched the topic and now can give you more information.

What is the situation with global pollution?

Humans have become an extremely dangerous species to nature with their waste. It is an interesting fact that if you dive into the deepest pits of the oceans you will find almost nothing, but you are very likely to see garbage. People pollute the world's oceans, forests, deserts, and everything they touch. There is no longer a corner of our planet where human garbage cannot be found. There is even it in space! But let's focus on the topic of cosmetic packaging... 

What actually happens to beauty product packaging after we use the product? There are a couple scenarios here. Certain companies are all about recycling cosmetic products, and the other option is to use the recycling system of the city where you live. The difference between the two options is mostly in the percentages to which the products are recycled. Since different recycling companies use different machines and tools, sometimes not everything that is submitted for recycling can be recycled.

What is the most common cosmetic product trash?

Research of TerraCycle shows that the most common waste comes from mascara tubes, foundation packaging, skincare packaging, lip gloss tubes, nail polish, fragrance bottles, lotion dispensers, and powder cases.

How do you recycle beauty products at home?

Infographic of what goes to the recycle bin

Use the services of your municipal recycling program. Almost every country now has systems that recycle waste regionally. Most major cities have their own recycling line. But what can we put in the recycling bin? It's good to know your local recycling rules, but most are the same everywhere. You can recycle aerosol cans, mascara tubes, lip balm tubes, hair gel tubes, concealer tubes, etc. as long as they are made of:

  • Glass 
  • Plastic, polystyrene, or rubber
  • Metal 
  • Paper or cardboard

    Any product that is made up of only the materials listed can be fully recycled. This means empty beauty packaging and tubes along with their caps, glass bottles, metal tubes, and more. The most important thing is to clean these containers thoroughly before disposing them. They should not contain cosmetic products in them (such as creams, liquids, etc.). Make sure that before disposing of such waste, the packaging is well-cleaned so that it does not contaminate other waste in the recycling container. Or you can even save them as empty beauty containers to store your DIY cosmetic products (Like DIY face masks or others).

    Where to recycle beauty products in Toronto?

    beauty product recycling in toronto

    There are quite a few places where you can recycle your products (including the blue bin), but in our case, we'll go with the easiest. TerraCycle offers a recycling program for all types of beauty products, no matter the brands of the products. At the same time, the company doesn't require you to clean the packaging, you just have to make sure, that your beauty product packaging is not leaking. They have 7 locations in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) for drop-offs, and they would collect any kind of:

    • Plastic bottles and caps
    • Plastic bottles and droppers
    • Plastic tubes and caps
    • Glass bottles and droppers
    • Glass bottles and caps
    • Plastic jars
    • Metal tubes and caps and more

      The main advantage of this recycling program is that you do not have to clean the packaging of the products. This makes the process a lot easier, because very often the contents of these cosmetic products are quite difficult to clean, and you may lose valuable time in your effort to be environmentally friendly. It's much easier with products that are hard to clean (like nail polish) or plastic containers with sticky content.

      What is the recycling process?

      recycling process infographic

      The process of recycling products consists of three main steps:

      • Sorting
      • Cleaning and processing
      • Production

        These steps are interrelated and ensure that the waste you throw away will be reprocessed and turned into a finished product that will serve society again. 


        Once you dispose of, your packaging is sent to a sorting and aggregation plant. All the waste is separated according to the material from which they are made using high-tech sorting machines in combination with manual sorting. The separating line separates the waste by size, air density, sinkage/float, optical properties, magnetism, and more.

        Cleaning and processing

        Once all the waste has been sorted according to the different materials and consistency, it is well-cleaned from any dirt, which helps to give the recycled material a better structure. Processing is done in another facility, where they are converted into a mixture that can be used in production. Most materials are broken down into tiny particles according to the material being processed into a primary product that a production line can use to create finished products. For example, metal products are crushed and remelted into metal sheets. Rubber is most often crushed into powder that can serve as flooring. Plastics are also shredded and converted into pallets, flakes, or powder format.


        The repurposed materials are sent to production facilities, where they are converted into finished products. The most common products are flooring, outdoor furnishings, decking, playground surfaces, baskets, containers, or even new beauty containers. Such products are often eco-certified because they protect the environment and instead of being made from newly extracted material, they use reprocessed material. This type of activity really contributes to preserving natural resources and making our planet a better place to live.

        Fully recycled products with us

        Many companies are increasingly relying on eco-certified products, organic ingredients, and recyclable packaging. This is how we protect the environment and guarantee ourselves a better future. Cosmetic World can offer you several popular products whose packaging is made from 97% reused plastics. You can easily find more brands in our store, just make sure you locate that recycling symbol on the package.



        The earth is ours, and we must learn how to protect it. Modern technology has provided us with the ability to do this in the most efficient way possible. From now on, we only need to change the way we look at our planet. It is a golden rule that when you take care of something, it bears its fruit in gratitude. So let us take care of the environment so that it can take care of us. Use products made with recycled materials and segregate your waste (not just from beauty products). Be better, so we can live in a better place...

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