Can you really make money from your old shampoo bottles? If you love a hair and beauty binge then you are not alone.
It is estimated that over 552 million shampoo bottles end up in our landfills yearly and 83% of women wear makeup daily.
But shelling out for new products, particularly with the cost of living crisis, can frequently leave your bank account feeling a little empty.
That is why beauty recycling schemes are a great incentive to help the planet and your purse.
88% of UK households consider recycling an established norm and 12m tonnes are recycled annually. But when it comes to beauty products and shampoo empties things can get more complicated.
Many products are made up of multiple plastics, which often have different recycling practices for their different components.
This means it’s not just a simple process of throwing everything into your normal recycling bin and hoping for the best, as unfortunately they won’t always be accepted at the other end.
But fear not, there is a better solution… that can even bring a little extra cash back to you.
Enter the beauty recycling scheme that many big brands and household names are signed up for.
You simply take your washed empties back to the company you brought them from and in return, they give you money, a voucher or discount to spend in-store.
What can you get?
By returning your empties to retailers across the U.K you could receive cash incentives and discounts galore. If you already use the product regularly anyway it’s a win-win and you will be helping the environment, one bottle at a time.
Supermarket and chain store recycling
If you always shop at Boots then their recycling scheme will be great for getting extra Boots points on your card to spend in-store.
The Boots scheme allows you to bring your empty beauty, health, wellness and dental products, from any brand, into all Boots retailers.
When you bring five empty products into one of the in-store recycle bins, Boots will generously give you a total of 600 Boots Advantage Card points when you spend £10 or more – that’s worth £6.
Recycling just got easier with John Lewis’ Beauty Cycle. If you’re a My John Lewis member, you’ll instantly get £5 off when you spend £20 or more on Beauty when you bring in five or more clean, empty beauty product containers to any of their beauty counters.
Individual beauty stores recycling
Lush has a popular Bring it back scheme which gives 50p back per bottle, no matter what product you are recycling. You can even return your 10ml sample pots for an additional 5p off your shopping per item!
MAC lipsticks are always a good idea and are designed to be accessible to all. Mac was originally created for photoshoots and live shows, so the lipsticks are typically more pigmented than other lipsticks and also have a creamy texture that is created to last on the lips.
With their Back to Mac scheme, you can now return six empties and get a lippie of your choice and colour.
Most Kiehl’s stores now have recycling hubs where once you bring in ten empties you can receive a free £9.75 voucher to spend on any product you like.
Even if you bring in just 1 empty, you can still receive points in their Family Loyalty Rewards Programme.
The Perfume Shop
The Perfume Shop has always set out to host luxury perfumes at affordable prices but now you can get a further discount when you recycle your old bottles.
Bring back any of your old perfume bottles to The Perfume shop and you can get a 10% discount off any product.
The future of recycling
Set to launch in 2025, the government is producing a Deposit Return Scheme to be rolled out across the country.
The scheme aims to give everyone the opportunity to recycle with an extended monetary incentive included.
The scheme would include unique machines, known as reverse vending machines, and designated sites where people can visit to return their bottles. The aim is they will receive cash back, similar to schemes in America which are already in place.
In most cases, it would be the retailers who sell drinks or products covered by the scheme who would host a return point. What to do with your empties if you have product left
When it comes to leftover products that are past their use-by date, it may seem simple to wash them down the sink, but this should be avoided.
Most beauty and skincare products contain chemicals, microbeads or even microplastics which can get washed down the drain and can pollute the ocean.
If a product is still within its expiration period but you know you won’t use it, Toiletries Amnesty charity accepts used beauty and hair products to help others in need.
Don’t forget you can also recycle clothes, with most high street shops offering similar offers when you take unwanted clothes into the store they were from. Read more about that here.