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The right way to dispose haircare and beauty product packaging
As a curious and conscious person, you’re properly aware of the ingredients you’re using on your skin, hair and body, but you’re probably also concerned about making sure, that the packaging of your products is being properly recycled, to have a minimal impact on the environment.
A sad fact is, that cosmetic Packaging make up about 1/2 of all landfill space in the world, with over 120 billion pieces of packaging created. every. single. Year!
This alone is, the motivational factor for us, to educate you in the confusing world of recycling, and correct disposal of haircare packaging, in a realistic an honest step by step.
HOW CAN I MAKE A DIFFERENCE ?
Most of your beauty products come in plastic packaging. Given the recent focus on plastic straws, and the impact the material has on the environment, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, that plastic should be a priority.
The only problem is, that plastic is not just plastic, it comes in many different materials.
The average packaging is created by different layers of multiple materials like plastic, paper, label’s and metal.
Some of these individual materials, are recyclable on their own, but when combined, they become impossible to recycle.
Different recycle companies, collect each raw material, like plastic, metal, paper and it’s impossible to separate the layered materials without highly specialized machinery, that most facilities don’t have, so these items go straight to the landfill.
Also products with dark or black packaging, cannot be recycled as they can’t be identified by MRF (materials recovery facility) machines.
Products that contain mirrors, magnets, sheet masks and packets, and squeezable tubes are also unrecyclable.
Your most sustainable option: choose single-material packaging wherever you can.
Even if all individual components of the packaging, are recyclable by them self, the packaging needs to be taken apart, and separated before reaching the recycling facility, or the packaging will end up in the landfill.
To avoid adding to the plastic packaging trash pile, remember to separate the components down to their recyclable parts.
The companies that buy your recyclables won’t accept dirty or contaminated packaging, they must be 95% uncontaminated.
To keep your empty packaging out of the landfill, wash and dry everything thoroughly before throwing them in the bin for recycle.
Dispose the Excess Product, BUT NOT DOWN THE DRAIN! A few drops of shampoo left in the bottle, is perfectly fine, but if there’s enough for you to shampoo your hair, you’ll need to take the extra step to clean it with a paper towel and throw it in to the normal waist bin.
Most cosmetic pumps are made with multiple varieties of plastic and metal, which are nearly impossible to separate without specialized industrial equipment.
So detach the pump from the bottle, and throw it in the normal waist bin, before recycling the bottle/packaging.
All plastics are labelled with a number from 1-7, usually on the bottom of the container.
These numbers tell you about the item’s recyclability. Look for the numbers, and try to choose easily recyclable options, when buying plastic packaging.
#1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
#2 HDPE (High density Polyethylene)
#5 PP (Polypropylene) Some recycling programs will accept
#5 plastics. Contact your local program for info.
#3 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
#4 LDPE (Low-density Polyethylene)
#6 PS (Polystyrene)
Hairspray, hair powder and other aerosol sprays can be recycled in recycling programs.
But do make sure, they’ve been completely finished before recycling them.
Spray cans made from aluminum, steel, or tin, can be recycled if they are completely empty. If the can has a plastic cap or lid, the plastic cap or lid, has to come off so it doesn’t cross contaminate the packaging.
Because many material facilities don’t have the equipment at the moment to sort mixed materials, the cap or lid needs to be removed from the spray can, to be successfully recycled.