Recycling Week 2023: Recycled Beauty

It’s time to talk recycling. Beauty recycling. For this week is Recycle Week 2023! It is a time when retailers, waste management companies and many more come together to galvanise consumers into recycling more and simply celebrate the humble art of recycling.

Despite being Recycle Week, I am not going to talk about what to do with your empty beauty packaging – for now at least (more on that below). Instead, I thought I would share some other forms of beauty recycling.

Recycling isn’t just about the packaging. It’s about the whole package. It’s all very well recycling empty tubes and bottles and jars (in fact it’s fabulous what you can recycle now) but what about if you have packaging which still contains unused product? How do you recycle that?

We’ve all been there. Wondering what to do with unwanted presents or products that have been opened, used once and forgotten about and so past their best or simply are disliked; maybe the colour is wrong or you don’t like the scent… Well, here are my suggestions.


Times are hard and with the cost of living on the up, more and more people are finding themselves struggling to even cover the basics. If you have spare/unwanted products then why not consider donating them?

Before you get over excited at the prospect of clearing that top shelf, please remember: If your cream or liquid makeup or skin/bodycare product has expired (check the date), has changed in texture, consistency or smell then it has probably gone off and is no good to anyone. In this case simply empty out the contents into your rubbish bin and wash and recycle the packaging (more on that below).

Charity Shops

Probably the quickest and simplest way to donate products is to drop them off at your local charity shop. Many charity shops chains happily accept new and unused cosmetics, aftershaves and perfumes. For hygiene purposes, products would need to be sealed and in their original packaging. It is worth checking the charity’s website to ensure your product meets their requirements.

Beauty Charities

Another way to donate is via a Beauty charity; these are on the increase and aim to put an end to hygiene poverty both here in the UK and overseas. There are a number of national charities who accept a variety of beauty and personal care products via post or drop off points. Below I have have compiled a list of banks, where to donate and what they accept. Hopefully there is one near you.

Beauty Banks (Charity no: 1184944)

Possibly the most well known of the beauty charities, Beauty Banks was established in 2018 by journalist and writer Sali Hughes and PR Consultant Jo Jones.

Where can I donate?

  • You can drop products off at donation bin at Superdrug stores around the UK – Find your nearest one here
  • You can find additional details on Drop Point donation collection points here
  • You can make a financial donation via Paypal

What do they accept?

  • Beauty Banks accepts personal care and beauty products for all genders and ages
  • Beauty Banks only accepts unused/unopened products
  • You can find a full list of all accepted products here

The Hygiene Bank (Charity no: 1181267 / SC049895)

Having just celebrated its five year anniversary, the Hygiene Bank was founded by Lizzie Hall who was inspired by the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake; a moving and harrowing film that exposes the harsh realities of those in our society who fall through the cracks.

In October 2019 Lizzie was awarded The Woman Of The Year, Boots sponsored Wellness Warrior for her work with The Hygiene Bank.

Where can I donate?

  • You can also donate locally or further afield online via their Common Good Community Wishlists
  • You can purchase a product from their online wishlist here
  • You can make a one off or monthly financial donation here

What do they accept?

  • Only accepts new, unused and in-date personal care and household cleaning essentials.
  • You can find a full list of all accepted products here

Toiletries Amnesty (Charity no:1149800 / SC045106)

Founded in an airing cupboard back in September 2014, Toiletries Amnesty is the brainchild of Karen Harvey. Karen realised that many people had unwanted, spare and unused toiletries in their cupboards and these items would be really helpful to others. The original aim was to collect toiletries for a homeless shelter in Cambridge however the donations kept coming and Toiletries Amnesty now support over 500 organisations!

Where can I donate?

  • You can donate locally or further afield. There is a directory of all organisations accepting donations here
  • If you are an business/organisation wanting to donate excess or end-of-line products or opened/part-used returns, you can do so here.
  • You can make a one off, monthly or annual financial donation via PayPal. Here

What do they accept?

  • Toiletries Amnesty works with a variety of organisations, schools and charities, supporting men, women and children alike
  • Recipients requirements vary but many accept part used products and those that are close to their use by date.
  • You can find a list of accepted products under each organisation listing here

But wait! That is not all you can do. Now for something a little more unusual…


Reuse is one of the pillars at the centre of sustainable living. Here is a UK company who have taken the concept of reuse to the next level…

Planet Friendly Paint 

We can help save the world, one brushstroke at a time!

Planet Friendly Paint is a social enterprise founded by Ameenah Begum, creating zero waste, handmade, watercolour paints made from upcycled waste cosmetics, providing an innovative circular economy solution to the ever-growing cosmetic waste problem. Ameenah has recently been awarded the Women in Innovation award 2023.

Planet Friendly Paint sell a range of watercolour paints and painting accessories here

Where can I donate?

  • You can post you donation to: Planet Friendly Paint, Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AB
  • if you are local to the area you can drop off in person at one of two drop off points in Southsea and Portsmouth.

What do they accept?

  • planet friendly paint accept “dry” colour cosmetics in any condition. Eyeshadow palettes and compact with blushers or highlighters are perfect. Expired makeup is more than welcome.
  • Please avoid sending makeup in tubes or pencils

You can find out more about Planet Friendly Paint here.

Later this week I will be sharing a little more from Planet Friendly Paint, so watch this space….

And Finally!

I did promise to talk about recycling empty beauty packaging but instead I am going to direct you to a very, very excellent post by my friend Lou Dartford (whom I’m sure many of you know of), who has pretty much covered every aspect of recycling beauty packaging amazingly well!!  You can find a link below – it’s definitely worth the read.

Lou Dartford – Top Tips To Get Your beauty Recycling Sorted!!

What do you do with your unwanted beauty products?


Images: (1) Pick Pic; (2) Pick Pic; (3) Beauty Banks; (4)Hygiene Bank; (5) Toiletries Amnesty; (6) Handle; (7) Planet Friendly Paint


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