how to recycle skincare packaging

the more you know!

If you’re a person who cares about sustainability in beauty, you probably recycle your used packaging every time you run out of product. However, if you aren’t recycling your packaging properly, there’s a chance that it’ll end up in the landfill anyways.

Don’t worry! Recycling can be confusing and we’re all still learning. To make it a little less confusing, we’ve started including recycling information on all of our product pages - just click on the “how to recycle” tab to learn more.

And here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you hit the bottom of the tube.

1. rinsing makes a difference

Clean bottles, tubes, and jars are easier to recycle than dirty or sticky ones. Ensuring that your containers are clean before you recycle them greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll be properly processed. 

Additionally, when leftover liquids and gels transfer onto other recyclable materials like paper or cardboard cartons, they’ll render them non recyclable!

We always recommend rinsing out your bottles, tubes, etc. and/or wiping out their interiors before you toss them in the recycling bin.

2. all labels should be peeled off

Even if the bottle, tube, or jar in question is recyclable, labels and the adhesives that attach them usually aren’t!

It only takes a few minutes to remove a label, and doing so will make your skincare containers much easier to recycle.

3. more often than not, pumps and sprayers are not recyclable

Pumps and sprayers are usually composed of many different materials, often including several types of plastic as well as metal springs. 

Unfortunately, that makes them almost impossible to recycle, even if they’re made of recyclable materials - the entire pump or sprayer would have to be taken apart, and each material would have to be recycled separately. Even if you were able to separate each material, the resulting pieces would likely be too small to process (more on that later). It’s best to just discard these!

4. mind the cap

Most recycling facilities aren’t able to sort or process anything smaller than 2 inches, even if the item in question is made of recyclable materials. Unfortunately, that means that most small caps must be discarded. 

The exception is when the cap is made of the same material as the rest of the item - for example, the caps of our mymatcha or highlighter sticks are too small to be recycled, UNLESS they’re attached to the rest of the stick. 

So, when recycling something like a mymatcha stick, just make sure to pop the cap back on before putting it in the recycling bin.

bonus tip #1 -  unused or gently used cosmetics can be donated

Didn’t make it to the empty bottle stage? Unused or gently used cosmetics can be donated to organizations like Project Beauty Share, which works to provide homeless or impoverished women with personal hygiene products and cosmetics.

You can also always reach out to local shelters in your area to see if they’re in need of personal care products - they’re often in high demand.

bonus tip #2 - cotton pads are compostable

Did you know? Next time you move to throw a used cotton pad in the trash, stop and drop it in the compost instead! You can even start keeping a compostable bag of some kind (paper will do just fine) in your bathroom to save yourself a trip.

we hope you found this helpful! for more tips, tricks, and skincare info, make sure to subscribe to our emails below!



Vanessa Wong on

Super helpful tips! Would love to see Cocokind develop a type of closed-loop system and/or partner with Terracycle where we can return our glass jars to you to sanitize and reuse. Would you also consider creating “bulk products” for refilling at home in the future so customers can minimize packaging waste? Thank you!


Nomi Mitchelm on

Would love to see cocokind partner with terracycle to ensure the most responsible recycling possible!!


Katie Kerr on

Love the tips! When I peel the labels off I find the adhesive sometimes stays behind, any tips for how to get it off?? Or is it ok to recycle like that?


cocokind on

@Olivia – yes! Just remove the cap, cut open the top of the tube, rinse it out, and toss in your recycling bin :)


Olivia on

Can you recycle the oil to milk cleanser bottles?


Vivian Wang on

Awesome article! It was very helpful and informal. Also keep in mind that, in general, follow your city’s recycling guidelines! What may work for one place may be different in another.


Michelle McCabe on

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! This is incredibly helpful and makes me love this company even more!


cocokind on

thank you all for your kind words and feedback! we are always working to become as sustainable as possible, and can’t wait to update you as we progress :)

@elizabeth, I’d recommend using a towel or rag for extra resistance to help you remove your facial repair oil lid!


Lindsay on

I found this article EXTREMELY helpful and insightful. It is so important to teach and passion information that can start to make a change in how we treat our planet. Well done CK!


Selene Lum on

The L’Occitane/Terracyle recycling program accepts pump dispensers from beauty products. Just drop them off at a L’Occitane store.


Elizabeth on

I cannot get the lids off of the facial repair oil to be able to clean it to recycle it. How do you get the lids off?


samantha on

this is very informative, i didn’t know a lot of this info!
would you consider omitting the plastic caps from your bottles to reduce waste?


Amy Broeker on

Great information!
I had not thought about composting cotton pads!


Brittany Luper on

I love your brand! I am wondering if a refill station is in the future?

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