Can you reuse old make-up packaging? Here’s what’s happening in the $8 billion industry that creates tons of waste

Written by Javed Iqbal

Australians spend billions of dollars on beauty products every year, but the remaining packaging mostly ends up in landfill.

It is estimated that more than 10,000 tonnes of cosmetic waste goes to landfill each year in Australia because make-up products are not widely accepted in kerbside recycling.

This is because they are too small to be sorted in a regular facility and often contain complex and mixed materials and residual products, which makes them difficult to recycle together with regular glass and plastic.

So what should you do with your old make-up and perfume?

What do companies do?

Several Australian and international beauty brands and retailers now offer return schemes where you can return used beauty products in store for recycling.

The products, including skin cream tubes, plastic and metal eyeshadow palettes, foundation and fragrance bottles are sorted into different waste streams such as glass, metal, soft and hard plastic.

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Javed Iqbal

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