The answer is simple: it’s just way too complex. When it comes to ditching our food containers, with help from the pamphlets that get dropped through our doors, we’re pretty clued up. We separate, rinse and bin. Simple. But when it comes to our beauty products, it’s a little trickier. In fact, data from Terracycle shows that 4.5million Brits find recycling their bathroom waste too confusing. Caps have to be separated, labels have to be removed, pumps need to be ditched and a whole bunch of products are considered hazardous, even if they are empty.
If you think you’re on top of your recycling game, we’ve got some bad news for you. Research shows that 80% of UK landfill waste could have easily been recycled, so where are we going wrong? Although recycling bins have become permanent features in our kitchens, when it comes to our beauty products, we’re not recycling nearly as much as we should be. Last year, Garnier revealed that while the UK recycles 90% of kitchen waste, we’re only recycling 50% of waste from our bathroom – but why?
As the seas fill with plastic and global emissions continue to rise, the pressure to be kinder to our planet is higher than ever, and what better way to show the world some love than by making sure we’re recycling, right?
So how can we reduce the amount of recyclable beauty products that end up in landfill without setting up at-home recycling systems? Here are three simple steps you can take to reduce your beauty waste…
Drop off your empties
To save you researching your local recycling rules and having to sort through your empty beauty bottles at home, why not take them to a local beauty recycling drop-off point? When news broke of just how complicated beauty recycling is, a number of brands announced that they were partnering with national waste companies to do the hard work.
Both Garnier and L’Occitane have partnered up with recycling company TerraCycle to ensure that our empty beauty products are being dealt with accordingly. Simply drop of your bottles (from any brand) at a local drop off point and they’ll sort, separate and recycle to ensure the absolute minimum ends up in landfill. The bad news is that there are a few products that TerraCycle don’t accept, depending upon the programme, so just read up before you go.
Similarly, Origins have partnered with WasteCare for their ‘Return to Origins’ service. You can drop off any of your beauty empties, from any cosmetics brand at any Origins counter, and WasteCare will clean and separate the packaging according to materials and work to recycle it accordingly – sign us up.
1.8billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used in England each year, and they can’t be recycled. What’s worse is that instead of popping them in the bin, 10% of us are flushing them down the toilet, which means they could eventually end up on our beaches. Switching to paper or natural buds means they can actually be tossed into your compost – win! And that goes for your cotton pads too, as long as they’re not contaminated with nail varnish.
Take a trip to the tip
If your beloved hair straighteners have finally given up on you, don’t dump them in the rubbish bin. Most local areas do accept electrical goods in the recycling, but you might have to venture to the local tip to drop them off. It’s one small trip for you, but a big stand against waste pollution.