Say goodbye to the days of “Can I recycle this shampoo bottle??” and “Where do I send my mascara wand again?!” And say hello to the days of 🎶throw it in the bag🎶…a Pact Collective bag that is. Then mail that bag full of mixed beauty empties back to Pact Collective, who is on a mission to collect the beauty industry’s hard-to-recycle packaging so that it is diverted from landfills and put to its highest and best use.
By: Lisa Fennessy
This post is sponsored by Credo Beauty, an ethical beauty retailer whose standards we trust. As always, The New Knew only works with brands who we trust are making the world a better place.
IN THIS POST:
- Why Pact Collective matters
- How Pact Collective works
- Come recycle via Pact Collective with me!
- Recycling FAQs
Let’s talk about skeletons in the closet—I’ve got a few. One of them being my recycling game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to recycle. It’s more like I often find myself frozen at the crossroads of blue bin and green bin and I don’t know what goes where.
Part of this is me not taking the time to commit to memory what’s actually recyclable. (Can I recycle plastic #3? Or was it plastic #1?) Part of it is recycling rules are not universal, so what’s recyclable to one waste management company is not to another. (Can I put broken glass in the recycle bin or does it have to be intact?) And part of it is recycling as a whole is evolving and changing and getting more efficient with every passing year. So you gotta keep up!
Well, I’m here to help you keep up and show up as a beauty product recycling boss. Let me be the first to introduce you to Pact Collective, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Credo.
This is a huge deal because up to this point, we’ve seen a lot of individual brand recycling programs where you can mail back empties to the specific brand you bought them from, like with Izzy; OR we’ve seen broader programs like TerraCycle; which recycle a wider range of brands, but the onus is still on the buyer to separate returns by brand; OR we’ve seen some initiatives that will take back specific components of a product, like Wands for Wildlife.
What we HAVEN’T seen yet is a robust, take-back-any-brand, beauty recycling program. Not to mention one that’s educating and engaging beauty industry stakeholders to make more informed, sustainable decisions from the get—and we see that here in Pact Collective.
Why Pact Collective matters
What people don’t realize is that when you toss your beauty products into your home recycling bin…you might not actually be recycling. Why?
- Containers were not cleaned properly, so they will get sent to a landfill.
- Containers are too small for machines to catch during sorting, so they will get sent to a landfill.
- Your municipality does not recycle that type of material (like black plastic or broken glass), so it will go to a landfill.
- You’re trying to recycle something that’s not recyclable (like my husband with pizza boxes—babe!), which will end up in a landfill.
- Items are multi-material like lined plastic, pumps and droppers, which are not typically recyclable and will end up in a landfill.
- And on and on…see a pattern?
This means the onus is on US as consumers to make sure empties are prepped and sent to the right place, which is also why 95% of recyclable beauty product empties STILL end up in landfills and oceans—because WE DON’T KNOW! And when you consider the beauty industry generates an estimated 120 billion cosmetic packages annually…getting the recycling right is kind of a big deal.
How to recycle with Pact Collective
Basically, Pact Collective simplifies this process and makes recycling easy for people like you and me.
Imagine this: You taking all your beauty empties (mascara tubes, shampoo bottles, blush compacts, lotion bottles with pumps and more), shipping or dropping them off to be recycled and patting yourself on the back for saving the planet single handedly. 😜 So much simpler, right?
Here’s the how to:
- Empty any remaining product out of containers and clean them so there is no residue remaining. Pact says, “Packaging that still has goop left can contaminate and damage equipment used by municipal recycling facilities (MRFs), resulting in gummed up recycling systems and negative environmental impacts.” Also, make sure containers are unbagged and loose. More on how to specifically clean your empties here.
- Pick the right bin. Taken from the Pact Collective website, below is a detailed list of what you can send to Pact, recycle at home, put in the trash and / or compost.
Good to know notes:
- All of the Pact-accepted packaging needs to be clean and empty.*
- It is always ideal to check with your local recycling centers for the most accurate information on curbside recyclable items in your area.
- Products considered hazardous materials such as aerosol products, nail polish and nail polish remover should be disposed through proper hazmat disposal. Check for your local hazmat disposal options.
“Compostable” or “Biodegradable”
- If you have backyard compost and it says “backyard compost OK,” toss it in your home compost (and give yourself a pat on the back; composting is the best!).
- If it is “industrial” compostable, you’ll need access to an industrial composting facility through your city or another program. You might want to check with your composter to see if they accept compostable packaging and single-use items (like takeout containers).
- If you do not have access to compost, it goes in the trash.
- Biodegradable material is good if the package gets into the environment. But it is not going to turn into the soil in the landfill.
- After you’ve determined what can be sent to Pact Collective, find a drop off location near you via their location finder (hint: Pact Bins are in all Credo stores and dozens of other locations in the U.S. and Canada) OR request a mailer to ship empties to Pact.
Come recycle via Pact Collective with me!
Leftover beauty products can be recycled via Pact Collective. Learn more here.
Yes, old cosmetics can be recycled via Pact Collective. Learn more here.
The process with Pact Collective makes disposing of unfinished beauty products quite easy.
Step 1: Empty any remaining product out of containers and clean them so there is no residue remaining.
Step 2: Pick your right bin. Taken from the Pact Collective website, below is a detailed list of what you can send to Pact, recycle at home, put in the trash and / or compost.
Step 3: After you’ve determined what can be sent to Pact Collective, find a drop off location near you via their location finder (hint: Pact Bins are in all Credo stores and dozens of other locations in the U.S. and Canada) OR request a mailer to ship empties to Pact.
Learn more here.
You can determine a drop off location near you via their location finder (hint: Pact Bins are in all Credo stores and dozens of other locations in the U.S. and Canada) OR request a mailer to ship empties to Pact. Learn more here.
Will you give Pact Collective a try?
TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.
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