Alternative ways to recycle
Curbside Trash

The Ideal Disposal Method for Makeup? Use It Up

Cosmetics tend to contain a lot of chemicals, so it’s better to use them up than to send them to landfills. If you do need to throw your makeup out, it’s important to keep chemicals out of waterways, so do not dump it down the drain or flush it down the toilet.

Alternative Ways to Recycle

Mac Cosmetics

Back to MAC Program

Through the Back to MAC program, MAC accepts the return of its primary packaging containers. When you return six containers to a MAC counter or ship them back, you’ll get a free lipstick.


Return to Origins Program

Bring your empty cosmetic tubes, bottles and jars — regardless of brand —  to an Origins retail store or department store counter, and they will recycle it all for you, for free. Find out more.


Kiehl's Recycle & Be Rewarded Program

Bring your empty Kiehl’s bottles back to a store, and earn rewards for complimentary products. Find out more.


Aveda's Full Circle Recycling Program

Any Aveda packaging not accepted curbside, such as makeup brushes and various bottles, jars, tubes and pumps, can be brought into any Aveda Experience Center retail store in the United States and placed in the Full Circle recycling bin. Find an Aveda location or learn more about Aveda’s commitment to responsible packaging.


Lush's Pot Return Program

Bring five empty black or clear Lush pots to any of their shops, and they will give you a free fresh face mask. Lush sends your old pots to their supplier to regrind and remold them into a whole new batch of pots. Find out more.

Ways to Reduce

Choose Eco-Friendly Makeup Brands

Some cosmetics brands are more earth-friendly than others. They use recycled packaging, soy-based inks, and operate on the basis of sustainability. Some green beauty brands include Josie Maran cosmetics, Stella McCartney’s Care, Physicians Formula Organic Wear, and Go Natural.

Ways to Reuse

eyeliner pencil

Use Eye and Lip Pencils as Regular Pencils

Old eye and lip pencils make great regular pencils for sketching or for marking things if you’re doing home renovations.

mascara brush

Reuse the Mascara Spoolie as a Brush

Wash off the spoolie of an expired mascara with dish soap and turn it into a brow or lash brush.


Use a Makeup Compact for Storage

An old makeup compact doesn’t need to be thrown out. It’s perfect for storing earrings, coins, mints, and other small items.

Turn Dry Eyeshadow Into Nail Polish

You might not be able to put it on your eyelids anymore, but dry, flaky eyeshadow can be mixed with clear nail polish to create a new nail color.

Did You Know?

The Story of Cosmetics

 This animated video helps you evaluate what cosmetics you’re putting on your body, including shampoo and body wash, which are used by both men and women. Less than 20 percent of these cosmetics have been inspected for adverse chemical effects, and words such as “herbal” and “natural” have no legal meaning.

Major Ecosystem Contaminant

According to EPA estimates, more than three million tons of personal care chemicals are dumped into waterways each year, adversely impacting our ecosystems.