How To Spring Clean and Recycle Your Beauty Stash
Have you been running out of things to do during quarantine? Cycling-check. Baking- check. Painting- check. Color-coding your wardrobe- check. Cleaning out your beauty essentials- whoops, you've tried everything but that. Its time to go Marie Kondo on your makeup bag and decide what you want to keep, and what you want to toss out. While this can be an emotional indecisive journey, we're here to tell you that the Chanel eye palette that you've been saving for that one 'special occasion' for the past three years might have expired.
- Check expiry dates
It is a good idea to do this at least twice a year- and what better time than spring and fall? You best believe that every makeup or skincare product you own will expire at some point, many earlier than later. Using an expired product will not only increase your risk of breakouts but also cause bacterial infections. The list given below will help you decipher when to toss out your makeup products (even if you have a hard time parting with them!)
Purchase makeup boxes and organizers so that you can sort out your makeup and skincare products accordingly. Assign drawers to a specific category, for example, sort all shades of pink, red, and nude into separate boxes so that you can remember the shades you own. While you're at it, separate the things that you no longer need or use, or anything that you don't absolutely love. Gather these items in a box, and make it a habit to give away or toss out 2 items every weekend. That way, you'll constantly be cleaning out your beauty stash!
- Utilize space
Stock up on under-the-vanity drawers so that you aren't constantly riddled with overflow. Instead of packing all your extra hair products, sanitary items, shaving supplies, and tissue rolls into messy odd corners of your room, invest in handy three-drawer boxes that you can keep in your bathroom to avoid things from spilling out. This way, no one will ever know about your hoarding problem!
The real dilemma starts when you finish a beauty product and don't know if you want to toss out the cute packaging or find ways to recycle it. With the amount of waste filling up landfills and floating in oceans, it is time to be more mindful about sustainability and playing our part in making the world a better, cleaner place. Here's what you can do;
1. Find out what can, and cannot be recycled
Most of your beauty products most likely come in plastic or glass packaging. In light of the war that plastic has waged on our environment, it should come as no surprise that the first thing we need to recycle is- you guessed it- plastic. However, not all plastic is the same. It comes in different shapes, forms, and sizes- some of which can be recycled and some which cannot. Since recycling availability varies across countries, you will need to do some digging at your local sanitation department to find out the appropriate material recycling facility after which it will go to a recycling collection program.
2. Focus on the labels on your products
Look for some cues on your plastic that will tell you whether it can be recycled or not. One cue is the classic triangle with arrow symbols- also called a Mobius loop. This symbol will have a number inside (1-7) which will identify the type of plastic used for the packaging. The most recyclable plastics are allotted the numbers one or two. Three symbolizes a material that will be problematic to recycle so the packaging is most likely rendered useless. For numbers four to seven, refer to the material recycling facility.
3. Reuse the small items
A small container, such as a lipstick case, will get stuck in the disposal stream of the recycling facility, leading it back to the landfill. Instead, mix the remaining old lipstick with petroleum jelly, melt the mixture and let it sit in the refrigerator before pouring it back into the lipstick case. Voila, a DIY moisturizing tint! You can also use the small containers to hold Q-tips, bobby pins, or toothpicks. Go ahead and be creative as you can! Pinterest is your best friend.
4. Empty out your products before tossing them out
A few drops of product left in the container is alright, but if there is enough shampoo at the bottom of your plastic bottle to shampoo your hair with, it is best to use it up before throwing it into the recycling. If any of the recyclable materials cross-contaminate or wet the surrounding cardboard or paper products, everything will get thrown out. This rule applies to any adhesives or glitter that may be stuck to the bottom of your products as well.
5. Return it back to the brand
As more and more beauty industries turn towards sustainable options, famous brands such as Kiehl's and MAC have come up with internal recycling programs that offer coupons or discounts to customers who return the empties.
The bottom line
Pumps, droppers, pouches, squeezable tubes, and dark-colored plastic cannot be recycled and unfortunately, needs to be thrown out. However, you can use these around the house to store items or use these to store shampoo or conditioner in your mini travel kits. Remember, hairspray cans and dry shampoo can be recycled- you just have to make sure the cans are clean and empty. If at any point you feel doubtful, throw the empty product into the trashcan as if a problematic plastic ends up at the recycling facility, it can clog up the whole system. Better safe than sorry!