As I have been working on incorporating more sustainable practices into my everyday life, I have been trying to live more minimally. I noticed the graveyard of beauty products shoved to the back of my bathroom cabinets.
It was real telling of how many marketing traps I had fallen into over the years. Promises of longer eyelashes, no more eye bags, getting rid of frizzy hair, getting the perfect curls, the list goes on and on.
My first instinct was to just toss these old products in the trash, but I thought about how they would just end up in landfills, further contributing to our mass-pollution problems.
Then I thought about dumping them down the drain and recycling what packaging I could. But that too would be harmful, as these products definitely were not considered "clean beauty" and were full of ingredients that are environmentally toxic. They would cause damage by leaching into the surrounding environments of landfills or cause damage to aquatic life after making their way through the waterways.
So how should you properly dispose of old personal care and cosmetic products?
The most recommended option is just to use it up, but that's not always idea and it is important to keep the chemicals out of the waterways and landfills.
If you need to dispose of your old beauty products, your best option is to check your city's hazardous waste facility and whether they accept beauty products. Many cities have free take-back locations that accept everything from personal care products to things like batteries and electronics.
- Recycling programs: Some cosmetic and beauty companies actually have their own recycling programs. There are also programs like TerraCycle that accept beauty products from any company. Learn more about them here. At SUR we offer a refill program where you can mail your finished product bottles back to us and we will sanitize, refill, and send them back to you! Other companies offer similar services or just recycling services where they will dispose of your product for you.
- Use safe products: The clean beauty industry has really developed in recent years. Previously eco-friendly products were too expensive or did not produce effective results, but now there are seemingly endless options for eco-products. Do your research and look for brands that are transparent about their practices.
If you have empty bottles, check the label for the tiny number inside of a triangle. This will tell you how to properly dispose of the container, check out a previous blog here to learn more about recycling different containers.
**Remember to rinse out the bottles and that the color of the container matters! Even hair spray and dry shampoo containers can be recycled as well***
At SUR we are completely transparent about all aspects of our company. We use ingredients that are carefully researched and safely sourced. We also try our best to use recycled materials when shipping products to avoid excess waste.
Overall, you should not feel bad if you have a collection of "toxic" products in your bathroom, everyone does. But you should educate yourself on how to properly dispose of them and encourage others to do the same.
Recycling references for Bay Area Locals: