Have you finally hit pan on your favorite powder foundation? Are you reaching the last few pumps from that expensive moisturizer and you’re not sure how to dispose of the container? ‘Empties’, or the modern term referring to empty containers usually for beauty or skincare products, have suddenly gained significance over the last couple of years. One such reason is closely tied with the question of environmental sustainability of the beauty and fashion industry: how do we support recycling and proper waste management when most of the products we own are made of plastic?
If you’ve been hoarding your empties for a while now because you’re not sure what to do with them, don’t toss them into the trash just yet. Here is a list of ways your empties can still be of use while helping save Mother Earth.
- Be proactive.
Most international makeup and skincare brands are already onboard the environmental sustainability train, so do your research and be proactive about recycling and reusing. Go to their website and check if they accept empties as part of an internal program to reuse products. Go to local counterparts and ask brand managers if they have such an initiative. Even better, if you support local Filipino skincare and makeup brands, you can message them to ask if they are affiliated with recycling centers or if they are implementing promos related to returning empties to them. In this regard, it never hurts to ask.
- Reuse pretty packaging.
If you buy makeup or skincare online, they usually come in sturdy boxes that also happen to look nice. If so, why not reuse these boxes when giving makeup and skincare as gifts to friends? Don’t be shy when it comes to reusing packaging and gift bags because in doing so, you are also encouraging others to take up the practice and do the same. If not, disassemble the boxes and recycle as usual.
- Empty them completely.
This tip will also ensure you get bang for your buck. Whenever you think you’ve emptied out a product or any type of makeup contained in a plastic tube, take a pair of scissors and cut across the container. You’ll be surprised just how much product is stuck to the walls of the container! You can even practice the same trick on toothpaste tubes. This is also an important step in proper waste management because if you dispose of empty containers when they still have plenty of product inside, they could contribute toxic waste and pollution to the water system.
- Check labels.
Turn your makeup and skincare products around and read the labels on the bottom. You will see not only the expiration date of the products but also the three arrows that signify the material itself is recyclable. Sometimes, they may even say the products are completely biodegradable because they’re made from reused or repurposed raw materials. This makes it easier to segregate empties yourself.
- Visit local recycling centers.
Going green is not a trend, it’s a social movement. This is especially true in Metro Manila, where irresponsible littering and constant consumption of single-use products are causing harm to the environment. To address these concerns, almost every city in the great metro has been actively putting up recycling centers where people can come and donate their trash for reuse. A quick Google search will tell you where you need to go.
- Support environmentally-sustainable brands.
Going green is not new anymore. Seek out and support brands that take environmental sustainability of their packaging into account. Try not to give your hard-earned coin to brands that still promote non-biodegradable packaging. Even better—go local and support Filipino initiatives who create their own skincare and makeup products without using plastic packaging.
- Restrain from buying.
This may be the hardest tip of all when it comes to makeup and skincare. The best way to avoid polluting the environment is to practice a sense of restraint when it comes to buying products. Break the supply and demand cycle by purchasing products that you need instead of spending needlessly on products that may just be a passing fancy. Moisturizers should last you a few months before you need to repurchase, and you won’t be emptying foundation in one go, right?