Cosmetics, we all use them. We all love them. But what happens once we use up that moisturizer? Or that deodorant? Unfortunately, for most of us, we end up throwing away the toxic plastic and non-biodegradable metal cans in the trash without a second thought and then go on to purchase a new product and the cycle starts again. We here at the Eco-Committee decided to purchase a cosmetics recycling box in September in order to reduce our school's waste as much as possible.
First some background on cosmetic waste. Cosmetic waste is a huge issue because, as already mentioned, we all use cosmetics no matter our age, gender or race. We all use them somehow in some way... that’s almost 8 billion people. 8 billion containers least thrown out maybe daily or every other day. It really is a huge issue that we need to tackle head first, and no, natural products are not better for the environment UNLESS the packaging they come in is recycled, reused or non-existent (e.g. package-free products. Lush does some great ones btw!).
Our school's new cosmetics recycling box comes from Terracycle, a company that specializes in processing products that are normally too hard for local councils to recycle. Ordering a Zero Waste Terracycle Box is our way of dealing with cosmetic waste. Instead of throwing out your containers, simply wash them and bring them in to Miss Laudi’s room, hey presto! One container saved from landfill! There are some regulations as to what can go in the box, due to some packaging just being too damaging and hard to recycle:
WHAT CAN GO IN THE BOX?
Lip balm and gloss tubes
Eye liner pencils and eye liner cases
Eye shadow container and palettes
WHAT CANNOT GO IN THE BOX (sorry!):
Nail polish bottles
Nail polish remover
We urge you to please bring your empty cosmetic containers to Miss Laudi’s room and save at least 1 piece of landfill from polluting the earth. But how can you reduce cosmetic waste in the first place? Well it is quite simple. Here are some ideas:
- The top tip I recommend is that you buy package-free products. Now more than ever, packag-free products are as mainstream as regular products, I mean LUSH has a ‘naked’ version of almost every product in store. My personal favourites include the solid shower gels (so many scents… like SO many, plus they last ages) and shampoo bars which are not only fun to use, but literally last forever and are filled to the brim with beneficial ingredients.
- My second tip is that you purchase products with an ethical background and sustainable packaging. Most ‘natural’ brands come in packaging which means they aren’t perfect BUT most of the time this packaging is either glass, wood or some other material. This makes the products not only feel and look luxury, but also makes them much easier to recycle, although they all look really good so you could just refill the bottles with some other product or even make your own products.
- My third and final tip is… make your own! It’s simple to make your own products, I mean I have made face washes, face masks, scrubs, lotions etc. all from my kitchen and they always (well, most of the time) turn out amazing because you control how much you want and what you want in it. All it takes is a Google search to start making your own array of natural, clean beauty.
We hope you take our advice on board and that you will use the cosmetics bin to its full potential, because it is for ALL of us in the school, not just the Eco-Committee. We can’t wait to see more and more people being eco-conscious and choosing recycling over landfill. Also don’t forget, we have recycling bins plastered all over the school so make sure to choose the giant green box over the small bin of gloom to throw away your recyclable waste and please urge your teachers to do the same as well as reducing their use of paper! (Mr Wren, we are looking at you!)
Written by: Adnan Ros, S4 Student, Eco-Committee