Low Trash Month: Recycling Cosmetics

Low Trash Month: Recycling Cosmetics


One of the best things about being a beauty writer is testing out all the latest and greatest cosmetics. One of the worst things is figuring out what to do with them when I’m done. (That’s a small sampling of products in my beauty closet. Yes, closet.)  I’ll try to give products that don’t match my coloring to my lighter and darker skinned friends and will occasionally donate duplicates or extras to a women’s shelter.

But even still, I’m left with many half-used products. It’s the rare occasion when I actually use a tube of lipstick down to the nub or am sweeping brush crumbs out of a compact. That’s where Origins comes in: Origins’ stores accept bottles, tubes, jars and compacts, regardless of  brand to be recycled or responsibly converted to energy. As a thanks, you’ll receive a free sample for Origins. I drop off about one big bag a year so I can tell you from experience that the store people are simply delighted for you to bring in your empties! Since the launch of the Return to Origins Recycling Program in 2009, 34,000 pounds of cosmetic packaging has been recycled.

Origins also sponsors the Plant-A-Tree Campaign in partnership with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf™ that has helped plant more than 265,000 tress around the world.

Another Lauder brand, Aveda has taken ownership of recycling caps of all kinds, in participation with schools across the country. It’s a weird quirk of many recycling programs, caps and lids are not recycled. Aveda collects caps of all sorts, shampoo lids, soda and water bottle tops, even prescription medicine bottle tops and recycle them into caps that are then used on their professional hair care products line. The rest of us can take advantage of Aveda’s skin care and hair styling product that come in recycled bottles.

Shiseido is helping to plant cherry blossom trees across New York City as part of its 140th anniversary celebration.  For every 140 wishes made in its Wish for the World program, Shiseido will plant a cherry blossom tree in NYC with New York Restoration Project (NYRP).


It’s not just the department store brands that are in on the eco-friendly act, too. Yes To, which just celebrated it’s 5-year anniversary, makes towelettes from sustainable fabric, and are Forest Stewardship Council certified. meaning that when you buy any of the Yes to Facial Towelettes, you’re not contributing to the destruction of the world’s forests.

And don’t forget about LUSH and Kiehl’s!


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