Sustainable student living: recycling beauty products

By Amy Denton, GLOBUS Correspondent

It can sometimes seem that we are being are told by society, the government and scientists that we live more sustainable lives in order to save the planet from catastrophic climate change. However, many of the supposed solutions we are pointed towards, such as buying only sustainably packaged or natural products can be expensive, rendering them unrealistic for most people to commit to – especially students.  

However, we do need to be mindful of the issue of product waste generated by our consumerist culture. Approximately 120 billion units of packaging are produced by the beauty industry each year, leaving a staggering amount of plastic waste. Wouldn’t it be great if one could buy sustainable beauty products, whilst saving money and reducing packaging waste? Well, some brands have decided to make this a possibility. Schemes have been set up, in which you return empty products to the brand, in return for a reward. 

Here are 4 of those schemes, how to participate and what reward you’ll receive:  

  • Lush 

Return 5 clean black pots (used to package face masks, shower scrubs, etc.) to your local Lush store, check the store locator map for more information on these shop whereabouts. In doing so, you’ll receive a free face mask! Click here to find out more information about how Lush recycles these pots.  

  • M.A.C 

MAC’s back to mac recycling scheme offers a reward of a free lipstick of your choice, in return for 6 primary packaging containers being deposited at a MAC store. For reference, primary packaging is the material encasing the product, such as a lipstick tube or foundation bottle, not any exterior packaging.  

  • Kiehl’s 

At Kiehl’s, you can return your empties in return for stamps on your loyalty card. After 5 stamps you can get 5% off a purchase and after 10 stamps either 10% off a purchase or a free travel sized product. All packaging for empty Kiehl’s products and all brands of plastic skincare packaging can be deposited in return for stamps! Click here for more information and terms and conditions. 

  • Boots 

Bring 5 empties (check the website for a full list of accepted products) to a deposit box at a participating Boots store, these boxes are usually located near the No7 counters! After taking a picture of your empties and scanning the deposit box, you will receive £5 worth of advantage card points! Just register here before depositing your empties to ensure you can collect your award. 

Personally, I believe that small individual actions can have a significant impact. Through returning one empty product and having it recycled, that is one less item of waste that may end up in landfills or the ocean. If everyone were to do this, our global waste problem would be greatly minimised. There is also the added benefit of being rewarded by brands for this behaviour, it’s a win-win situation! 

Hopefully, this inspires you to participate in the aforementioned reward schemes! If you have further interest in learning about the severity of the beauty industry packing waste issue, this article is fascinating. 

Header Image by Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash

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