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How to Dispose of Makeups and Contacts

How to Dispose of Makeups and Contacts
Written by Collins Nwokolo

You went into your room and saw a lot of mess, mostly consists of old cosmetics and colored contacts ready to be tossed away. It’s undoubtedly time to declutter, yet you falter as you aren’t sure how to get rid of it all responsibly. While keeping yourself pretty is a must, maintaining Mother Earth’s beauty is as essential. We got you covered, so here’s how to free your counters from unused makeups and contacts properly.


Expiration of makeups and contacts

Makeups and contacts have a shelf life. It is a timeframe when your product is fit for use, consumption, or sales. When you are planning to dispose of your cosmetics or lenses, try to check if they are still within their service life. That way, you can retain those useful makeup that can be handy on your next date or keep your colored contacts for an approaching cosplay party. The shelf life of typical makeup products and contact lenses is as follows:

  • Mascara and eyeliner: 3-6 months
  • Oil-free foundation and nail polish:12 months
  • Cream foundation, concealer, cream eye shadow and blush: 12-18 months
  • Lipgloss: 12-24 months
  • Bronzer, blush, (dry) eyeliner, lipstick, powdered eye shadow and foundation, lip liner: 2 years
  • Contacts (may vary): some are intended for single-use, others can be used for days, weeks, or even months depending on prescription

Keep in mind that makeup that has terrible odor implies that it is already spoiled. Never attempt to use them regardless, even if they are not past their expiry date yet!

How to Dispose of Makeups and Contacts

Correct Ways To Dispose Of Cosmetics and Contact Lenses

When you have sorted which things are still viable for use or not, it is time to properly discard them or hand them over to certain facilities, companies or individuals that would make use, recycle or dispose of them. Here are ways to can do so responsibly.

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1. Hazardous Waste

We are well-aware that products such as fluorescent lights, medications, paints, and batteries fall as hazardous waste. Majority of us, however, don’t know that cosmetic items are also considered as such. This case is specifically valid for lipsticks as it contains acrylates or lead. Nail polish is also hazardous enough that laws prohibit flushing them down the drain or throwing them directly in the trash. It goes the same way with your contacts as they can break down into dangerous microplastics which can be detrimental to wildlife and environmental health. You can always go online and call your local hazardous waste disposal department to see how to go in disposing of the item.


2. Donate or Gift

You can consider donating any serviceable or slightly used cosmetics to your local women’s shelter or any career center so that other women may able to use them. You may call them ahead to see what kind of products they accept on their end. If you have friends who might use them instead, you could also give the product to them, and they’ll surely appreciate your gesture.  This is not the case for contact lenses, though. You can’t share them for hygienic and medical reasons.


3. Giving Back Programs

Many cosmetic companies and even contact lens providers have launched their giving back recycling programs. These endeavors enable customers to bring in their old commodities retail drop-off centers or mail-in programs.

4. Retail drop-off centers

Some makeup and contact lenses brands will take used-cosmetics and recycle and dispose of them for you. You may ask around or search online to check if there is an eco-friendly makeup company at the nearest shopping center.

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5. Mail-in programs

If there are no retail drop-off centers, it’s a great thing that there are some who offer mail-in programs. You can ship the old and unserviceable products back to them for proper disposal.

If you participate in these programs, other companies provide rewards for your efforts, such as vouchers, coupons, or free products. Take advantage of these programs if you one is available nearby.


6. Recycle

If there is no available recycling program or you are unable to dispose of the items into a hazardous waste facility, the next step is to recycle them. Put your contacts and the contents of your cosmetics into a sealed bag. If you are unable to empty the bottle of its contents, dispose the whole bottle into the trash and again, do not flush down the drain.

If you are able to salvage some containers or the cases, you can reuse and recycle them for other purposes. Just make to make them clean and free of all the products. Through creativity, you will be able to turn these old cosmetics or cases into new useful things, like cases for bearing pins or jewelry for road trips, tiny pill containers for traveling, and other clever things. If you want, you can also want to experiment by mixing your own makeup and keeping them into your old containers.

Importance of Proper Disposal and Recycling

It is advisable to as much as possible to practice recycling products, however, if you need to get rid of them permanently. Make sure to dispose of them properly to avoid contributing to environmental issues we already have at hand.

  • Volume of garbage: Based on studies, an average consume 12 products daily in the United States, and with over 112 million in the country, that’s surely a lot of waste accumulated each year.
  • Toxic Pollution: Disposal of commodities, consisting of things like personal care products, medicines, cosmetics or makeup, is the main contributor to the contamination of ocean waters in urbanized nations, more significantly as water treatment plants cannot break down most of the toxic waste we place into them.
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Why Flushing or Rinsing Is Bad

For those reasons, the habit of disposing of makeups or contacts, down the drain or sink has a negative environmental impact. This is one of the biggest concerns of environmentalists as this action allows dangerous ingredients to sip into and contaminate our supply of surface water. This also negatively impact plants and freshwater wildlife.

After using vibrant makeup or colored contacts for your cosplay event, Halloween and other special occasions to level up your look, don’t just throw them down the trash. Be responsible enough to dispose of them properly when they are no longer serviceable and make Mother Earth beautiful, same with what these products do for you.

About the author

Collins Nwokolo

Collins Nwokolo is a passionate blogger and an amazing writer. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful information to people.

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