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How to Recycle Beauty Products

Chances are you have a recycling bin in your office and more than likely your kitchen, but what about your bathroom? Beauty products, while not as easily recyclable, don’t have to wind up at the landfill. From aerosol cans to plastic tubes, here’s your total guide on how to recycle every beauty product in your arsenal. But first, remember these four things:

  • Disassemble if applicable. Products with sprayers, droppers, and other pieces will need to be removed. 
  • Check with your local curbside recycling program to ensure they collect items that look like yours. If they don’t, bring your recyclables to your local recycling station.
  • Make sure it’s completely empty. An item with up to 10% residual formula in it won’t get recycled. 
  • Make sure it’s clean. Rinse out your empty products, but don’t stress about drying them. 

Plastic Jars 

Jars are some of the simplest items to recycle. Since the cap and jar often are made of the same plastic, simply rinse out, replace the cap, and throw in your recycling bin.

To check if your other plastic jars have lids made of the same type of plastic, look for the number 1-7 in the recycling symbol on both pieces. If you can’t find a match, dispose of the lid and the jar separately.      

Plastic and Aluminum Tubes

Cut into your tubes to scoop out every last drop is always a good choice, but don’t cut them into two separate pieces. Smaller pieces are less likely to get recycled. Once clean, remove the caps and either recycle them separately or throw them in the trash. 

Hard Plastic Bottles 

Your plastic bottles can be broken down into 2 different categories: flexible bottles (ones that you can squeeze) and hard bottles. Hard bottles are usually smaller like your serums or oils. Since the droppers are usually made out of a different material, those cannot be recycled and should be removed.  

Flexible Plastic Bottles 

Flexible bottles are exactly what they sound like, they are softer bottles usually bigger. Commonly body lotion, cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Just like hard bottles, inserts like the pumps and sprayers should be separated and are usually not recyclable. Take those out, rinse the bottle, remove or replace the cap, and toss it in the recycling bin. 

Glass Jars And Bottles 


Glass jars and bottles can be recycled over and over, just make sure you’re removing any liners in the tops of lids, disposing of lids, caps, and applicators separately if they’re not glass, and confirming that your curbside recycling program accepts all three colors or glass (clear, brown, and blue). 

Aerosol Cans  

When you’ve reached the end of your hairspray, hold down the nozzle until only air dispenses from the nozzle. Remove any detachable parts, like the lid, and recycle them separately. And as with all these forms, check with your local curbside recycling program to see if they collect empty aerosol cans. If they don’t, bring them to your local recycling station. 

Other Personal Care Items 

While items like toothbrushes and razors aren’t recyclable through curbside programs, the brands you use may have their own recycling programs or partnerships in place to help. Check with the brands you use to see if they have collection programs you can take advantage of. 

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