Why your make-up may not be as recyclable as you think it is

By Julia Wray | Published: 3-Jul-2024

From materials to shapes and more, Cosmetics Business discovers why cosmetic packaging might be rejected in recycling facilities and what you can do about it

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How recyclable is your make-up? Traditionally, our mascaras, lipsticks and so forth have been beauty’s trickiest items to design recyclability into.

“Make-up packaging such as mascaras, lip glosses, lipsticks, compacts and jars are often highly complex as they are small, compact, cylindrical, multi-material and use plastics, such as ABS [acrylonitrile butadiene styrene], which have no existing recycling stream,” Gilles Swyngedauw, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility and Product Sustainability for Cosmetics & Fragrance at Albéa, tells Cosmetics Business.

But complexity is no longer an adequate excuse, as, internationally, the onus is now on the makers of packaged goods – like cosmetics – to ensure their products can be repurposed into valuable secondary resources, or pay the price.


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