recycle cosmetics 2017

Whether you want to earn free products, help those in need, or protect the environment, there are many reasons to to use cosmetics recycling programs!

Find out below how you can return old containers for free products, send old mascara wands to help wildlife, or donate gently used products to women-in-need (perfect for things that didn’t work out, color experiments gone wrong, or free samples you just don’t want).

Recycle Empty Containers 

Your old mascara wands can help wildlife when used to remove fly eggs and larva from the fur of animals (they work great because the bristles are so close together). Learn more about #smallbrushbigimpact at and mail your cleaned mascara wands to: Appalachian Wild, P.O. Box 1211, Skyland, NC 28776


Any Aveda packaging not accepted curbside (e.g. makeup brushes, various bottles, jars, tubes, pumps) can be brought into any Aveda Experience Center retail store in the United States and placed in the Full Circle recycling bin. Also accepts caps from any brand.

Kiehl’s Since 1851  earn free travel sizes 

Recycle full-size Kiehl’s products to receive a stamp (deluxe samples & complimentary products can be returned for recycling but do not warrant a stamp). Customers will also receive one recycle count when using a Kiehl’s tote bag while shopping in a Kiehl’s retail location. Ten (10) stamps earn a Free 2.5oz Travel-size Product.

Lip Ink – earn free liquid lip color

Send in any four (4) empty full sized LIP-INK® vials and you can choose any one (1) LIP-INK® Liquid Lip Color for FREE along with FREE domestic shipping. Limit 1 per customer per year (must purchase an additional item). Note that you may to send in any number of vials for recycling but only 4 vials will be credited towards free LIP-INK® lip color.

Lush USA  earn free face masks

Bring back 5 empty, clean black LUSH pots to your local shop for recycling and receive a Free Fresh Face Mask

MAC Cosmetics  earn free lipstick

MAC Cosmetics recycling program is called the Back To M·A·C Program – return six (6) M·A·C primary packaging containers to a M·A·C counter or M·A·C Cosmetics Online, and receive a Free M·A·C Lipstick of Your Choice (VIVA GLAM Lipsticks and Lipglass can be recycled but do not count towards free gift)

Malin + Goetz

All Malin + Goetz packaging is recyclable and most is biodegradable. Empty products can be dropped at a recycling center or brought into either of their NYC stores.


Origins recycles cosmetic empties from any brand, everyday (you may get a free sample in exchange). Program is currently available in North America and Origins is exploring ways to expand to other regions.

Stowaway Cosmetics  earn store credit

Stowaway Cosmetics provides prepaid shipping labels to send them your finished products for recycling. Plus, you will receive $5 in Stowaway credit for every 3 products you return!

Stowaway Recycle
Stowaway Recycle –


Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable.” Whether it’s coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste. We partner with individual collectors such as yourself, as well as major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities, and small businesses across 20 different countries. See website for specific programs from these brands and more:


Donate Gently Used Items  

Project Beauty Share accepts the following gently used items to support efforts to help women-in-need. Mail donations to: Project Beauty Share, 216 N. Bernard, Spokane, WA 99201

  • Barely Used Makeup
  • Facial Cleansers & Moisturizers
  • Body Lotion & Sunscreen (more than 1/2 full)
  • Shampoo & Conditioner (more than 1/2 full)
  • Clean or New Makeup Brushes
  • Perfume & Body Sprays
  • Hair Styling Products
  • Hair Styling Tools
  • Clean Makeup Bags


9 comments on “Recycling”

  1. This is absolutely fantastic! I had no idea cosmetic recycling exists but I do wish to support these activities. As I believe recycling are the key factor for our future (and I mean the future of our Earth). It is so great more and more brands are taking certain actions towards sustainability and I think in a short time your list on this page will become much longer – well, I hope it will 🙂
    I have been working in textile industry and it is one of the biggest nature poluters. So it is a big change to see the increasing popularity of sustainability policies also among brands in textile industry.

    • Hi Arta, Thank you so much for supporting these activities that are both good for the planet, and can also earn you some nice incentive gifts! Our individual actions do add up!!

      Warm Regards, Alyce

  2. Wow, this is a great resource to share with the wife! I had no idea there were so many ways to recycle makeup and my wife always keeps her old containers. We also have an ample amount of gently used items to donate. I think it’s really cool that small brushes are so handy for helping wildlife! Thanks!

    • Hi Jordan, Thanks so much for sharing this information with your wife! Those items you all won’t be using will surely make a difference for someone in need.

      Warm Regards, Alyce

  3. Hi Alyce,
    Recycling makes so much sense. Anything to help wildlife. I have at least 3 old mascara wands that I can clean and send.

    The Colgate program to turn recycled toothbrushes into school supplies like backpacks, pens, and notebooks, is phenomenal.

    There’s so much waste going on when all these throw away things can be recycled. We just need to educate people to let them know where to send the stuff.

    Offering free travel size gifts as an incentive is a really great idea too!

    Thank you for a well informative article on this.

    • Hi Gina, I’m so glad to hear that this is helpful and that you can already contribute and participate in these programs! Recycling makes sense on so many levels, but the added bonus free gifts in a few cases just sweetens the deal. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting Warm Regards, Alyce

  4. Thanks for the info. I had no idea that there were certain parts of makeup containers that were not recyclable, let alone could be traded for bonuses. This is a great site. Can you tell me if there are also bonuses for such products like Cover Girl or Maybeline? I do not by makeup very often but my oldest and my sister in law do and knowing if there were bonuses on the products that they buy would be great.

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