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How to Reuse & Recycle Beauty Product Packaging

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All Gone!

Did you recently run out of your favorite beauty product? Bummer! Not sure what to do with the empty container? You actually have a ton of options when it comes to reusing or recycling empty beauty product containers, ranging from old-fashioned recycling to fun & eco-friendly projects.

Check out our list below to see how you can recycle or reuse your beauty jars & containers and keep our earth cleaner!

How to Re-Purpose or Recycle Beauty Products

Old-Fashion Recycling

If your beauty container is made of glass or plastic there’s a good chance it may be recyclable. Each city has its own rules and regulations on what can and can’t be recycled, so be sure to check them out before you toss anything.

TerraCycle® Zero Waste Box™

TerraCycle offers a Zero Waste Box™ that you can purchase online and fill with empty beauty packaging from ANY brand, such as hair care tubes & caps, lip balm/gloss tubes, lotion bottles, mascara tubes, etc. TerraCycle sanitizes and breaks down the recycled products to make new packaging for beauty suppliers and other vendors. The boxes do cost money but the amount of waste that’s not going to landfill by using this program is totally worth the price tag.

Wands for Wildlife®

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge has a program called Wands for WildLife that allows beauty lovers to donate (cleaned) used mascara wands. The wands are used to remove fly eggs and larvae from the fur and feathers of wild animals. Due to a large number of donations, they only accept wands at certain times, but they also have some great mascara wand upcycling ideas on their website!

Storage & Decor

Empty skincare jars make the perfect storage container for items like buttons, tacks, spices, etc. As an alternative, jars can also be decorated and used as decor, e.g. staining, mosaic, etc. The possibilities are pretty endless with the help of Pinterest.

DIY Beauty Products

Empty skincare containers create the perfect opportunity to try making a DIY beauty recipe! If you need a little inspiration Pinterest is chock full of awesome non-toxic & green beauty DIY recipes. We’ve pinned a few of our favorites here.

*Please make sure to research before mixing ingredients, however. Consult a dermatologist with any questions if you’re unsure.


Skincare jars are the perfect size to make a candle in, and truth be told it’s simpler than you think. Check out our favorite DIY recipes for clean-burning beeswax candles (purifies the air by emitting negative ions) and soy candles (non-toxic soot, no air pollution, & vegan). Consider using a wooden wick for a cleaner, minimal-soot burn that crackles.


Who doesn’t love an adorable little house plant? Next time you use up a glass skincare jar try planting a flower or succulent inside. You can even start a collection in all different jar shapes and sizes. Super cute! If you have pets please make sure whatever you’re planting is pet-friendly and not toxic to your fur baby.

What About Makeup?

Makeup recycling is a little bit trickier due to sanitation issues. Lipsticks, eyeshadows, etc are not recyclable in most cities. You can, however, see if the brand has its own recycling program or stream available. Some brands also offer freebies and/or discounts for returning a certain amount of empty containers back to the store.

Let us know if you have any other fun ideas for reusing or recycling empty skincare and beauty containers!

Disclaimer: May contain affiliate links. All opinions are our own. Nothing stated above should be used in lieu of professional medical advice.

Stephanie Thorn
Founder of Clean & Cruelty-Free. A Midwest girl with a passion for green beauty, makeup artistry, animals rights, and comfy leggings. Since being diagnosed with PCOS she's made it her mission to adopt a less-toxic lifestyle.