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8 Beauty Brands That Recycle Your Empty Containers

Don’t toss those bottles! Here’s where you can trade them in for freebies.

lush recycled pods program
Photography by: Courtesy of LUSH

Don’t worry, you don’t have to reveal how many beauty products you’re really hoarding (we don’t judge!) But did you know that once you polish off that go-to tube of lip stain, it doesn’t have to head for the trash? Plenty of your favorite beauty brands will happily take back empty cosmetic containers and recycle them for you. And the best part: you can earn rewards -- like free lipsticks and face masks -- just for recycling your empties. So go ahead, get your (eco-friendly) beauty on. 

 

Lush

This Canadian, hand-made body care line doesn’t shy away from sustainability: their products are package-free and online orders ship with compostable packing peanuts. Plus, after indulging in your favorite moisturizers and scrubs, bring in five empty containers for a free face mask. Even more beautiful: Each of these pots is made from BPA-free, post-consumer recycled plastic. 

 

M.A.C Cosmetics

Your makeup obsession does pay off! With their “Back to M.A.C” recycling program, the glam cosmetic powerhouse will give you a free lipstick in exchange for six of your empties. Recycling is available in-store or online. For more perks, join their loyalty program, M.A.C Select, and you can bring back empty containers at your own pace (no need to save all six to trade in at once). Once it’s freebie time, choose from a lipglass or eyeshadow.

 

Garnier

By teaming up with TerraCycle -- the eco-enterprise known for recycling trickier waste like toothpaste tubes -- Garnier has been able to keep almost every kind of empty cosmetic packaging out of landfills. The free recycling program accepts everything from shampoo caps and hair gel tubes to empty eye shadow tubes (see the complete list here.) All you need to do is join online, collect your empty items, and mail them in via a pre-paid label. Items are then sorted, cleaned out, and recycled. For every item you mail in, you’ll earn points which can be redeemed towards charitable donations or upcycled merch on TerraCycle’s online shop. 

 

[LEARN: How to Go Zero Waste at Home With 8 Easy Swaps]
kiehls cleanser
Photography by: Courtesy of Kiehl's

Kiehl’s

On top of their regular rewards program, this heritage apothecary brand also offers their Recycle and Be Rewarded program: bring back empty Kiehl’s containers (any full-sized product qualifies) and collect a stamp. After 10 stamps, you can redeem them for a travel-size product of your choice. If you have non full-sized products that don't qualify for stamps, dont worry; you can still bring them in to be recycled. 

 

[WHAT: Does "All-Natural" Really Mean? Learn How to Decode Skincare Labels]

 

Everyday Minerals

These Austin-based beauty makers not only feature vegan, hand-crafted, cruelty-free products, but will gift you a free blush for sending back 8 empties (empty jars for base, face, or cheek products qualify).If you’re not sure about your perfect shade -- worry not. They also offer trial kits and free samples to help you find your best match. 

zoya nail polish
Photography by: Courtesy of Zoya

Zoya

It may only be once a year, but we love this nail polish maker’s annual Earth Day Exchange: trade-in any of your old or unwanted bottles of polish -- any brand and amount -- for Zoya’s toxin-free alternatives at no cost to you! All collected polishes will be disposed of responsibly by Zoya. 

 

Aveda

With more than 85% of their product packaging made out of 100% post-consumer recycled materials, Aveda encourages all their customers to recycle when possible, but is also glad to help out with trickier disposables. Though there aren’t any freebies in exchange, their Full Circle Recycling Program does allow you to bring in any empty Aveda packaging or accessories -- from spray bottles and rollerballs to sponges and brushes -- to be recycled. 

 

[SEE: Our Favorite All-Natural Makeup Products -- That Actually Work]

 

Innisfree

This budget-friendly Korean-beauty brand specializes in all-natural skincare and makeup, both inspired by, and considerate of, the planet. They source their ingredients from the fields of Korea’s Jeju Island -- like mineral-rich seawater and protein-packed honey from canola flowers -- and support various reforestation efforts, planting 79,000 trees to date. Also teaming up with TerraCycle, Innisfree collects any empties in-store (and soon, online) in exchange for program loyalty points. Earn enough points and you can snag discounts on your future beauty haul. You're welcome.