Recycling Your Skin Care Packaging

As consumers, we're conscious about the skin care products we purchase. We choose skin care brands that are mindful in their packaging process, reducing where possible but the reality is that properly disposing of any packaging remains a challenge. 

Aspirational Recycling is when you aren't sure if the item is recyclable but place it in the recycling bin in hopes that it is.

To avoid aspirational recycling: 

1.  Empty your bottle or jar and wash them before recycling. If there's product in it, the entire container will be considered waste in the recycling centre.

2. Nail polish and remover containers are considered hazardous waste and are not recyclable. 

3. When packaging isn't properly separated (plastic lids and glass jars for example) aren't properly separated or contain mixed-component packaging – even if its entirely recyclable matter, they can’t be processed by most municipal recycling streams so will be considered waste.

4. We all know the international recycling symbol: the Mobius loop. Even if a container has the symbol, it doesn't guarantee that it can be recycled through your city or municipality's stream. The numbers in the loop indicate the type of plastic used in the product. Number 5 or one indicates that packaging is made of a single resin so is easier to recycle. Number 7 plastics are often made up of multiple resins, making them more difficult to recycle.

Click HERE for the recycling guidelines for the City of Ottawa. Otherwise, check with your local municipality.

5. Biodegradable plastics seem like the ideal solution however they're made of polylactic acid (a common biodegradable plastic derived from corn) that won’t decompose unless it’s processed at a high-efficiency composting facility. In the end biodegradable packaging doesn’t add a lot of value to the compost, and, as a result, composters don’t really want it.

In the lifecycle of a package, recycling is the last option. We always want to first  consider how we can reduce packaging and how it can be reused or up-cycled. 

There are some organizations that help us ensure that packages will be properly recycled, even packaging that may not be recyclable through municipality programs. 

At ORESTA, we have partnered with TerraCycle, a global recycling program where we absorb the costs of recycling. We will accept clean, empty containers of products that we retail at our locations. 

Pact Collective is another organization that partners with brands to collect hard-to-recycle packages. Province Apothecary and ILIA are two of many brands that have partnered with Pact. You can also find local drop off bins across North America to dispose of your empty beauty containers.

Back to blog