While it’s easy to demand that all beauty brands have a recycling program, it’s usually not as easy to execute. Most skincare and makeup packaging contain several types of plastics which require different processes to break down. This is why most recycling programs call for empties which are from the brand itself, instead of including other brands, as they would know best the type of plastic which was used in their packaging, and how they can go about recycling them.
Nonetheless, it’s always good practise to keep the empties from these brands, as they have a recycling program to reduce the amount of waste. Brands like Kiehl’s and innisfree are long-time players in being eco-friendly as it’s also the brand’s ethos, but we are particularly impressed with RE:ERTH who managed to source a local recycling company to covert plastic into fuel (!!!).
Here are the eco-friendly beauty brands that have their own recycling programs.
The founders of RE:ERTH have partnered up with local recycling company Environmental Solutions (Asia) which has a unique way of recycing plastics. They don’t require different types of plastics to be sorted, heck they don’t even need you to wash their bottles. Environmental Solutions (Asia), then converts these plastic into fuel (yes, fuel!), which solves two problems; generate less waste and creating less reliance on fossil-based fuels.
RE:ERTH does have collection points for their empties, and you can also earn petal points which you can accumulate to offset your purchases.
innisfree started their recycling campaign in Korea back in 2003 and while they reward you with a generous $1 store credit with every empty bottle recycled, it’s worth nothing that there are restrictions tied to it. For starters, you’re only allowed to recycle three empty bottles per month, and they only acces glass or plastic bottles from their skincare and hair care line. This means you can’t recycle the packaging for makeup.
Recycling and sustainability is basicaly built into the Kiehl’s identity. In Singapore alone, they collect an average of 2,000 bottles a month, and also have campaigns to encourage the use of tote bags instead of using paper bags.
They also have a reward system where you earn stamps which go toward product redemption. Remember to rinse the bottles before you drop them off though!
L’Occitane’s recycling program is pretty straightforward. You drop off clean empty bottles at their store to earn stamps which go toward product redemption which can range anywhere from a travel-size shower gel, to their Divine Cream. To save on actual physical stamp cards (cause, who keeps those around anyway?), they would require you to register for an account so you can keep track.
The cool thing about L’Occitane is, they actually accept empties from other brands as well, not just from L’Occitane. However, it is up to the beauty advisors’ discretion if they choose to accept these packaging or not.
Lush has been advocating sustainability with the launch of their packaging-free collection, but if you find yourself with their signature empty black pots made out of polypropylene plastic, drop them off at the store and you can redeem a fresh face mask from the brand.
It may not be widely pubicised but M.A.C’s “Back to M.A.C” program has been around for years. Every time you return six of M.A.C’s primary containers (clean, without any product inside), you’ll be entitled to one free lipstick.