Our rampant consumerism is literally ruining our planet. Seeing photos of plastic on beaches and entire trash islands being formed in the ocean is enough to bring tears to my eyes. It’s easy to feel like an individual effort can make an impact in the overwhelming damage we’ve already made to our environment, however, when you consider that only one in five plastic bottles are recycled, every little bit helps.
With the popularity of posting & sharing our beauty empties on social media rising, I hope we can encourage one another to take this trend one step further by recycling those containers at a local resource, such as one of the brands on this list. If you see your favorite influencer sharing their empties, please encourage them to recycle them after filming or posting. The impact of fashion recycling programs is a highly debated topic, due in large part to fast fashion’s massive impact on the environment and how ineffective large-scale textile recycling efforts have been. The fashion and beauty brands included in the slides below offer programs designed to make it easy to donate your used or unwanted products. A few companies on this list even include incentives for recycling items, like free products and discounts, but hopefully keeping your trash out of landfills is reward enough.
Origins accepts empty containers from any brand at their freestanding and department store locations in North America.
Origins recycles cosmetic empties to help reduce landfill waste. We accept our customer’s containers from any brand, every day. In fact, we created the beauty industries’ first recycling program for cosmetic packaging in 2009.
For more information on Origins recycling program, tree planting program, and the brand’s sustainable efforts, please click here.
MAC Cosmetics accepts empty or unwanted MAC products at all MAC stores and department store locations in exchange for free product.
Because we share your commitment to the environment, M·A·C accepts returns of its primary packaging through the Back-to-M·A·C Program. By returning six  M·A·C primary packaging containers to a M·A·C counter or M·A·C Cosmetics online, you’ll receive a free M·A·C lipstick of your choice as our thanks to you. Please note, Lipsticks provided at no charge cannot be returned or exchanged. M·A·C Select Back-to-M·A·C Expanded is only available in stores at this time.
In addition, MAC Select members receive additional Back to MAC benefits at freestanding store locations:
Because we share your commitment to the environment, M·A·C Cosmetics accepts returns of its primary packaging through the Back to M·A·C Program. As a M•A•C Select member, by returning 6 M·A·C Cosmetics primary packaging containers to a M·A·C Cosmetics owned and operated store in the United States (excluding Massachusetts and airport locations), you’ll receive a free M·A·C Cosmetics lipstick, lipglass or single eye shadow (up to $17) of your choice as our thanks to you (Does not include special deco packaged products or Viva Glam products). Products provided at no charge cannot be returned or exchanged.
H&M accepts donations of textile items in any condition at their stores worldwide.
You can drop off your textiles – no matter brand or condition – in all our H&M stores across the globe.
While the success of clothing recycling programs is up for debate, H&M often provides customers with a coupon (typically 15%, although amounts may vary) off their next purchase in exchange for donations.
Madewell has partnered with Blue Jeans Go Green to recycle unwanted denim:
Stop by one of our stores with your pre-loved pairs (bring in a whole pile from any brand: the low-rise bootcuts, the bright-pink skinnies, your dad’s relaxed fits). We’ll turn them into housing insulation for communities in need—and give you $20 off new ones.*
Reformation’s recycling program not only makes it easy to send in clothing items, but it also provides you with transparency on how your items are being used:
You can print a RefRecycling shipping label from your account online or pick one up in stores. Then, simply slap that on the box your stuff came in (or any other box), fill it up with whatever you want to recycle, have it picked up at your door, and we’ll do the rest. You can login to your Reformation profile and log the label number to track your shipments and see where your old stuff is going, and the positive environmental impact you made.
Lush is transparent about the suppliers and sustainability of their black pot packaging and encourages customers to return five empty pots in exchange for a free face mask:
…we offer your favorite products packaged in recycled plastic pots, and when you’re done with them, you simply return five of them to any of our shops and we give you a free fresh face mask!