The Ugly Side of Beauty

The Ugly Side of Beauty

We get a lot of gorgeous beauty product samples at Murchison-Hume HQ. It’s fun to try out new products and we feel lucky to have them, but it does create a lot of waste when we’re done.

As an experiment, I started saving the empty containers of everything I used, just to see how much plastic trash I was generating.

Spoiler alert: A lot.

This photo represents roughly 3 months’ worth of my own plastic product empties. When we spread it all out to shoot it, I was speechless. And that’s not the worst part. I wasn’t even recycling most of it!

That was the weirdest thing. I’m super-diligent about rinsing out glass, soft plastic bags, food containers, and cans. But something happens to me once I leave the kitchen (and the proximity of the recycling bin), it somehow didn’t even occur to me to take my empty shampoo bottles and jars and downstairs to recycle.  

Well, I’m a convert. My ugly little mountain of plastic beauty products shamed me into action! I set up a little system to make it easier to recycle from the bathroom. I just placed one of our bamboo caddies under the sink and now whenever I finish anything, I clean it with hot water + toilet paper and put it in the caddy. Once it’s full I take the whole thing downstairs to the recycling bin. Done. If you want to be a Guilt Free Beauty Queen, this is a quick primer on what you can (and can’t) recycle:

1. Consider your packaging. Of course, glass is the best option, but it’s not always practical (like products for use in the shower). In that case, look for plastics that can be readily recycled. They will have this symbol, along with a number that tells people at recycling plants how to recycle them.

2. Look for refillable plastic and opt for glass when you can. Refills save you money (and are better for the environment). This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people prefer to toss a spent bottle of hand soap and simply buy another without even considering a refill.

3. Pumps and droppers should be removed and used again! Pumps and triggers often have metal springs inside that makes them impossible to recycle. You should keep them and buy refills!

4. Clean your empties. The leftover cream at the bottom of your jar or bottle can be easily rinsed out with hot water. It adds to the recyclability of the package. Once you get in the habit of doing it, it will become automatic, I promise!

5. When in doubt, let trash be trash. Small things like lipstick tubes and plastic toothpaste tubes are often made from different types of plastics and so cannot be recycled. In this case, it’s often better to throw them in the general trash, because they won’t need to be sorted out or contaminate the recyclables. Even better: Look for tubes made from aluminum or that have explicit recycling symbols.

I’m still a galaxy away from being a 100% zero-waster, but I feel a lot better about my beauty routine now that I’m doing my bit.

Clean IS beautiful!