Do You Recycle Beauty Product Packaging?

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun

I remember growing up oblivious to recycling in the 80s. I chalk it up to the times, but when I think of all the juice boxes, cans, plastic bags and bottles we wasted and CFCs (hairsprays, etc.) we released into the atmosphere, I feel rotten.


Times have definitely changed. It’s cool when beauty companies make an effort to use recycled materials in their packaging. The environment is a central issue in our lives now and growing more important every day.

I *love* pretty packaging and aesthetically pleasing design. Well designed packages bring me joy, but some of them still make me cringe, like when a tiny .3 oz. tube of product comes all by itself in an oversized, shrink wrapped cardboard box fitted with plastic buttons, ribbons and bows. Overkill — and most of it ends up in the trash.

What do you do with your discarded beauty product packaging? Do you ever reuse it around the house or recycle the plastic containers?

Do You Recycle Beauty Product Packaging?

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Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Aloha, ladies. I’m here in jungly Kaneohe on the eastern side of Oahu. My family lives in a small condo at the base of a curtain of green mountains that bisect the island’s north and south sides. It’s been raining heavily since we arrived, and the sky is dark and gloomy. A big storm is on the way, moving steadily across the Pacific, and everyone is worried about flooding.

Ko’olau Moutains, Oahu, Hawaii

Over the course of a single 24-hour period last week, the island got 17 inches of rain and saw major damage and flooding. San Francisco gets 20 inches of rain annually, so 17 inches in a day means it was raining cats and dogs, and chickens, cows — you name it, LOL!

It’s just before dawn right now, and my family is still asleep. We had a nice first day yesterday despite the rain, catching up with family and spending quality time with our mom. Right now I’m blogging by the light of my laptop on the couch, listening to wild chickens and the rain outside.


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So far, 19 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Stephie says:

    I totally agree with you about beautiful but cringeworthy packaging. After I unravel everything I usually do a little search for that recyclable sign then throw it in the bin.. or if I don’t see it, throw it in the bin anyway. You never know right? HA. I love you how you mentioned listening to wild chickens. When I visited the Philippines a few summers ago it was a nonstop wild chickens, cats, dogs, caribou and goat alarm clock.

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Stephie,

    So true… you just never know!

    This morning the roosters went CRAZY, like they were having a rooster convention outside.

    Which part of the Phil. did you go to? I went with my mom in 2000 and I remember it being so hot and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.

  3. katee says:

    I recycle just about everything I can but feel like a dumb blonde when I say that I never even thought or recycling old makeup containers/palettes!

    katee´s last blog post..OPI La Collection De France Swatches – Fall/Winter 2008 – Part 2!

  4. Karen says:

    Hi Katee,

    MAC has a really great recycling program called “Back to MAC.” Have you heard of it?

  5. Indian Girl says:

    My God, the mountains looks so majestic ….I kinda like gloomy weather sometimes. The storm sounds scary, Stay Safe Girl !
    Happy Holidays to you and your family 🙂


  6. Indian Girl says:

    Are those banana plants ? In India it is a tradition eat on them during festivals…it actually adds some flavor they say. I havent noticed anything coz I am too busy trying to keep my food on it 😉


  7. Karen says:

    Hi Indian Girl,

    They are very dramatic! In several places you can even see waterfalls coming straight down.

    I am not sure if those are banana plants. OoOoo… I would love to go to an Indian festival some day!

  8. Megan says:

    I’m so glad you guys are getting to spend some time with her! Unfortunately my co-worker who had aggressive breat cancer which metastasized to her brain passed away last week. She was 36 and left behind an 11 year old and a 9 year old. We have been buying Christmas presents for the kids.

    I hope you and el hub have a wonderful time with the family there in Hawaii. I hope that you can bring joy and strength to your mom. I hope that you have happy holidays and a wonderful new year.

  9. Tali says:

    I do what i can. I try to throw plastics in the recycling bin… or save my favourite things in a memory box. I do admit that i am guilty of buying ‘pretty’ but useless things that are really just alot of plastic and zero product! (Urban decay primer ho-hum!!)

    It helps when i know the company cares. I love the idea of cargo’s packaging (but i dont like their products)

    Mac is good because they encourage you to keep 6 empty things for a free lipstick. It used to be less thoug… 2 or 3.
    I had some Cult of Cherry products i never used so i removed the product and i think i now have 4 empties!!! 2 to go!

    Today was a total Mac day!
    I bought ‘gilded ash’ and weirdly ‘Chill’ is only in one store in England (Selfridges).. I bought the black eyeshaddow and Frozen Dream…the light pink was missing from the collection in the UK… it lietrally was nowhere to be seen- not even on the displays!! 🙁 and i wanted it!

    AMAZING mountain pic!!!!!

  10. Tania says:

    I used to recycle my bp’s. Back in the day the Body Shop and Bath and Body Works rewarded you for good green behavior. Now they don’t and they totally should! Now I just do Back to MAC. I’m totally naughty about this issue I mean I love my aerosol hairspray!! What about you? Oh and I’m so excited about “The City”. Yet I’m creeped out my the whole speidi marriage I mean she was drunk! Drunk dialing is one thing but drunk matromoney is another!!

  11. Lars says:

    the only thing i do is the back to mac program (free lipstick is great incentive!)

    but I’m never sure what to do with my other beauty product containers. Does anyone have suggestions? Especially with things like aerosol cans (i use a lot of hairspray 😛 )

  12. lesley says:

    That’s a beautiful shot of the mountains!

    But yes, I do hate how much packaging comes with all the products I buy. I remember the editor of Glamour writing about this issue of packaging being too excessive. *sigh*

    Hope you’re having a great week! It’s cold here in SF so enjoy the warm (?) weather you’re having over there!

  13. Dao says:

    I backed to MAC once and keep the beautiful cartons as much as I can. Wow, 17 inches of rain?! I’ve never seen it rained that much in FL at all! Please take the pictures of the chickens, esp. the one who makes the most noise 🙂

    P.S: I took some photos today and thought of Tabs >.<

    Dao´s last blog post..DIY Eye Makeup Remover: A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

  14. Tiera says:

    I use Back to MAC religiously, and there are even some MUAs that will let me get an eyeshadow instead (I’m not really a lipstick person). I also try and get creative with the boxes and reuse them in various storage situations!

    Welcome back to Hawaii! If you make your way to the other side of the Ko`olau, I hope to run into you (preferably near a Starbucks/Jamba combo, MAC, or Sephora)!

  15. RetroRiotGrrrl says:

    Luckily my recycle and trash is built into my tax-base so our city picks up everything YAY effortless environmentalism. Anyway I like to use pieces of pretty packaging in collages and other crafty things I do. Also I LOVE Back2M.A.C. free product for doing my part hell yeah!

  16. nai says:

    aloooha, karen! i work at a hospital on the other side of the koolau from where you took that pic. (yes, those are banana trees, by the way.) i looked out my office window several times today and was glad to see it was sunshiney. i hope you got to enjoy some of that. oh, obama’s staying on your side of the island over the weekend. since my sweets and i are going to maui tomorrow, if you run into our pres-elect while going for shave ice or something, throw him a shaka for me.

    glad to hear your mom is doing well & that you and your hubby are enjoying time together. your MIL sounds like tough stuff! Of course, she has to be some heck of a woman, in order to raise a boy who would grow up and marry a wonderful chick like you!

    as for the actual topic at hand? back to mac is one of the many reasons 90% of my cosmetics is mac. wish other companies would do the same.

  17. Roxy says:

    I’m so jealous that your in HI! but i do try to recycle packaging when I can I use the boxes as a way to store my make up so I don’t throw them all away and I LOOOVE MAC’s B2M program I wish more companies had that!

    Roxy´s last blog post..MAC Chill Collection

  18. Ellery says:

    I feel awful throwing anything away so every single empty jar or tub I’ve ever had is in a box under my bed. I can’t even throw away boxes that perfume come in, and if I reach under my desk there’s a Christina Aguilera box and a MAC Volcanic Ash exfoliator one, lol!

    I hope you’re having fun, I’m so jealous!

  19. Marisol says:

    I really only recycle MAC products and that is because I get free product out of it. :blush:

    Marisol´s last blog post..One year ago today…

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