Did you receive a new eyeshadow palette for the holidays with 2023's hottest new shades, and want to move on from last year's colors? Or are you taking advantage of the new year to clean out your bathroom cupboards for a fresh start? Or perhaps there was that moisturizer you tried that you didn't like, so it just got stale in the back of the drawer?
Beauty products are often super hard to recycle correctly or at all. If you're thinking that your shampoo bottle is entirely plastic, and therefore gets recycled, check again.
Take a look at both your item's package and review your municipality's rules. Do they limit you to certain markings (ex. #1 and #5 plastic)? Or certain container shapes and sizes (ex. greater than 3" diameter round bottle)?
You may find that your package isn't just glass or plastic, or it has no recycle marking, or is too small. And if you threw it in the recycling, you were Wishcycling. Or like me: you've given up on anything without a marking and threw it straight in the trash.
Nordstrom wants to help. They've created BEAUTYCYCLE, a program that involves take back boxes for your empty makeup, hair care, and skin care packages. Then they do the hard work of sorting, cleaning, and separating to make sure the materials get recycled. You'll find these boxes in the beauty departments of Nordstrom stores, and you may also find them at the entrance of your local Nordstrom Rack.
The boxes are labeled with what all they take, so do one last check before depositing your empties in the box. (Yes, please get your containers mostly empty first.)
As examples, this type of eyeshadow palette could go in! (A mix of plastic and metal and too small for traditional recycling.)
Or this small primer tube. (Multi-layer plastic and foil.)
Or even this larger moisturizer pot. (Large enough for standard recycling, but thick multi-layers and no marking.)
They are taking aggressive goals to take back 100 tons by 2025, and per Nordstrom Cares
, they've made good progress as of 2021:
Why does it all matter? Because over 120 Billion (yes with a "B") of beauty units are made every year.
So best possible option? Choose products that come in cardboard packaging; this may mean switching to products like solid shampoo and soap bars.
Have a favorite brand that you don't want to switch from? Message the company to appeal to them to switch out their packaging. If they don't hear from customers, they don't know if matters to you. We're starting to see more and more brands switch to updated options like "less plastic" and "refillable", and it's because of consumer appetite for better options.
In the interim? Bring your glass, plastic, and metal, and mixed material packages to a Nordstrom near you and BEAUTYCYCLE. Learn more here.