Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ways to reuse and recycle your unwanted health & beauty products

While trying to clear the clutter from my cosmetics collection, I've been finding more and more products that I want to toss. But to throw everything away just seems so wasteful! So I brainstormed this list of ways to reuse, repurpose, or recycle those products you no longer want, but don't know what to do with.

If it's brand new, unopened and still fresh:
  • Donate your toiletries, cosmetics and other health and beauty products to a local shelter or food pantry – both would welcome such items, which are donated less often than food products
  • Donate hand soaps, dish soaps, laundry products, and cleaning supplies to animal shelters
  • Create care packages for troops overseas – try AnySoldier.com or U.S. Troop Care Package
  • Give to friends or relatives
  • Create gift baskets of necessities for friends and relatives who are going off to college, just got a new house/apartment, had a new baby, or other milestone events where such products are necessary
  • Sell on ebay, Amazon, or at the next garage sale you have
If it's open but barely used:
  • Keep a basket of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, toothpaste and other necessities stashed away for overnight guests
  • Offer toiletries, fragrances, lotions, and makeup to less-picky friends
  • Host a beauty swap where everyone brings some things (that aren't icky for multiple users) to trade
  • Leave hand soaps, hand creams, fragrances, etc in your office bathroom for everyone to use
If it's mostly used or otherwise not in giftable condition:
  • Wash your sink, shower, and toilet with shampoo, body wash, hand soap or other cleansers (it works, with less toxic chemicals)
  • Use conditioner as a shaving cream
  • Clean your stockings, delicate laundry, makeup brushes, or combs with shampoo or gentle face wash
  • Use unwanted face lotion as hand or foot cream
  • Rub lip balms on your elbows, knees, and other scaly skin
  • Use old clear nailpolish (top or base coats) for crafts, sealing cut ribbons so they don't fray, or as sealant for rhinestones and other cheap jewelery
  • Give toiletries to your kids (or other kids you know) to make 'potions' in the bathtub
Of course, if it's moldy, smelly, or simply that bad, just dump it down the drain and recycle the packaging! Origins "Return to Origins" recycling program will take clean, empty cosmetics containers to recycle and give you a free sample in return. Many Whole Foods stores collect any packaging with the 5 logo, if your local recycling program doesn't take them.

Have any more recycling or repurposing ideas? Leave a comment!

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