Beauty Waste Recycling Guidelines


 - By Kailey Bradt

Beauty Waste Recycling Guidelines


In partnership with Pact Collective ( we’re sharing some guidelines on how to properly sort and prepare your beauty waste for recycling.  

Sorting Your Beauty Waste

We’re outlining three categories of your beauty waste- what you can recycle with Pact, what you can recycle at home and what is unrecyclable. These categories are a good outline for what to look for when shopping for beauty products in recyclable packaging.

Before Recycling

Before recycling, make sure to disassemble, wash & dry your beauty packaging!

Recycle With Pact Collective

This group of products are the hard-to-recycle components of beauty packaging. If you can recycle something at home, that should come first. This is a second option for collecting and recycling beauty waste. As there are many components of beauty packaging that cannot be recycled curbside, Pact Collective has stepped in to give a sustainable option before heading to a landfill.

What to Recycle With Pact:

  • Plastic jars/pots, tubes, sticks, and containers less than 2” in 2 dimensions
  • Colored glass bottles and jars
  • Metal packages 
  • Lipstick and lip gloss tubes, applicators
  • Mascara tubes and wands
  • Plastic pencil components (e.g. for eye/lip liner, brow pencils)
  • Makeup compacts (with nothing left in the pan)
  • Plastic caps
  • Ceramic containers
  • Lotion pumps, treatment pumps, all dispensers

Recycle At Home

This group of products that can be recycled at home have a lower environmental footprint, since they don’t have to travel as far to be recycled. This should be a first option if where you reside has a curbside recycling program. This is a general outline of what’s accepted at most curbside recycling programs in the US, but check your local governance to see what’s accepted in your area.

What to Recycle At Home:

  • Plastic containers #1, 2 and 5, when they are 2” in more than 2 dimensions
  • Clear or frosted glass jars and bottles
  • Stainless steel or aluminum 
  • Cardboard & paper

Dispose of at Home, The Unrecyclable

This is obviously a last resort, but take note of these components and try to avoid them when shopping to restock your beauty cabinet next!

  • Broken glass
  • Aerosol cans
  • Sponges
  • Toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes & dental floss
  • Single use wipes
  • Plastic or foil safety seals
  • Plastic bag & wrappers
  • Plastic with foil/metal inlay
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover

Image: Susteau