We recently covered what to do when you (unfortunately) find expired makeup lying around. But what happens when you successfully use a product to its last drop? On one shoulder, the green-loving angel would chime that recycling is the way to go because it is simply wasteful to toss it in the bin. But the slothful devil tempts you with the proximity of your at-home dustbin. 

Open confession: while I know that the right thing to do would be to recycle or reuse, sometimes I just find myself not having the motivation to do so (Sorry Mother Earth!). Thankfully, many beauty labels have recognised the long-term detriment of such behaviour and have swooped in to encourage more mindful habits within the community. And there’s no better way to excite Singaporeans than with recycling programmes that reward both the customer and the environment: 

1. Innisfree

 

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Innisfree’s green and natural branding isn’t only applicable to their formulation — it applies to everything the brand stands for! With various campaigns across the years to support environmentally friendly efforts (I particularly love their Green Forest Campaign, which has helped plant over ten thousand trees), Innisfree has proven themselves to be an ally to the eco-fight. And now you can be too with their bottle-recycling programme! 

It is a straightforward process – bring your empty skincare bottles and you will be rewarded with $1 worth of store credit. You would need to be an Innisfree member to receive these credits, but fret not! It’s completely free to join; just ask the staff. Do note that you are only allowed to earn rewards for three glass or plastic bottles every month, but that’s still a substantial number given how long it takes to go through one product. All recycled bottles will be carefully sorted and made into new packaging. 

An eco-friendly product life cycle that makes for a mindful purchase! 

2. Kiehl’s

 

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Kiehl’s — a three in one marvel of natural ingredients, efficacious skin solutions, and a sustainable heart. Their Recycle & Be Rewarded programme is one of their many endeavours that gives back to the environment. And you can be part of this journey with them! By bringing back an empty, clean Kiehl’s bottle or bringing your own shopping tote bag, you earn one stamp. Every fourth and seventh stamp returns a travel-sized product. When you’ve reached your tenth stamp, you will receive your very own Kiehl’s Tote Bag! 

Important note: to be eligible for this reward, you must be a member of their Friends of Kiehl’s loyalty club, which you can join by spending $120 in a single receipt. 

Since the launch of their Recycle & Be Rewarded programme, they have collected a whopping ninety thousand empties for recycling. These recycled materials go towards making new packaging for their products, reducing overall landfill waste. In fact, their continuous environmentally-friendly efforts mean that their waste never meets their fateful end at landfills. All of it is either reused, recycled or burned for energy recovery! 

3. L’OCCITANE

 

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L’OCCITANE has been a long-standing believer in conscious actions throughout their product lifecycle. That’s why you will find that many of their products are made from 100% recycled materials, and have been for a while (10 years!). Their Big Little Things recycling programme is one of the many showings of their dedication to the environment.  

The name stems from their belief that big impacts come from little actions in our daily lives, and that is the perfect encapsulation of how the recycle-for-reward benefits our deteriorating planet. Simply bring along any full-sized empties you have to their store and be rewarded with digital “stamps”. Collect seven and you will have a brand new travel-sized L’OCCITANE product safely in your arms. L’OCCITANE’s programme extends its recycling arms to other brands too — so start rounding up as many as you can! 

But before you lug all of them to the store in your tote, make sure that you clean and dry them to the best of your ability. Big Little Things, alongside their extensive sustainability efforts (from sourcing to formulation), is definitely a commendable effort on L’OCCITANE’s part! 

4. LUSH

 

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It’s no surprise that this vegetarian and cruelty-free beauty label also partakes in recycling. LUSH’s recycling programme breathes new life into your used black pots by sending them to recycling plants in Singapore. You will be rewarded with a fresh face mask for every five (cleaned and washed) pots you bring. 

There’s also a reason why LUSH products are housed in these iconic black pots without any embellishments! It’s kinder on the environment, reduces overall waste and ensures that the user is paying for the formulation and not the decoration. 

While they only accept pots for rewards, LUSH provides advice on how you can mindfully dispose of your other empties. For their bottled products (such as shower gels and liquid shampoos), they are made of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which are easily recyclable at recycling points near your home. If you were gifted LUSH products (How lucky!), you can be rest assured that their gift boxes can be recycled easily at recycling points. Their cellulose wrap is biodegradable as well — just dump them in your compost bin guilt-free!

5. M.A.C 

 

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Perhaps the hardest beauty products to repurpose are blush compacts, mascara tubes and powder compacts. Luckily for us (and the environment), M.A.C’s Back to M.A.C recycling programme accepts all the mentioned products and other primary M.A.C packaging. You will be rewarded for your efforts with a free M.A.C lipstick of your choice for every six clean empties you bring to the M.A.C counter. 

This is their way of giving back to their (steadfastly) loyal community and the environment! 

6. Origins

 

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Here’s a beauty history tidbit for you: Origins’ is the pioneer of the recycle-for-reward scheme in the beauty world! Their 2009 venture is still thriving today, and their community is encouraged to bring in Origins’ empties (travel-sized and full-sized are both welcomed) to their stores in ION, Centrepoint and NEX. For every three empty bottles or jars, you will be rewarded with a deluxe sample (15ml) direct from the store. No wait time required! But do keep in mind to clean the bottles thoroughly before coming in for an exchange — it ensures that there are no hiccups or rejected items in the recycling process. 

However, if you have some empty skincare bottles or compact mirrors from other brands lying around, Origins’ would also be able to help you to recycle it. As a brand that roots many of their formulations in nature’s wonderland, it is heartening to see that they are respecting it too by consistently reducing their impact on the environment through sustainable measures! 

7. RE:ERTH

 

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Our homegrown brands are channelling efforts into sustainability too! RE:ERTH partners with local management service Environmental Solutions (Asia) to transform their used plastics into fuel. Yes, you read that right — it is turned into non-fossil derived fuel that gives energy for everything around us! 

Unlike traditional recycling methods, you do not have to wash and dismantle any of your empties. Simply drop them off at RE:ERTH’s participating outlets and you will be requited with Garden Petals (Or in layman terms, RE:ERTH credits!). The best part? RE:ERTH’s acceptance policy is non-discriminatory — all brands’ plastics are welcome in their recycle bin.  

I am particularly impressed by RE:ERTH’s mindfulness in their partnership — by having the recycling done locally, it reduces carbon costs as opposed to having it transported overseas. Their dedication to sustainability, paired with their minimalistic but transformative skincare range, certainly has me enamoured! 

8. The Body Shop

 

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Another no-surprise here! The Body Shop has a recycling programme with a charming twist to the classic 3R’s — instead of reduce, reuse, recycle, it’s Return, Recycle, Repeat

Bring along a clean plastic bottle or tub from The Body Shop and hand it over to their retail staff. In exchange, you will be issued a digital stamp for each item returned. Earn five stamps and you will be rewarded with a travel-sized product, which you can come back to recycle again when you’re done with it! Leave the store rest assured that your empty bottles will be brought away by their recycling partner, Sembcorp, to a material recovery facility. 

But before all that, make sure that you are a member of their Love Your Body club, which you will be eligible for as long as you spend $40 in one receipt. I really appreciate how transparent The Body Shop is with their eco-efforts, which are all readily available on their website. Aside from their recycling scheme, their products are also formulated with sustainably-sourced ingredients of traceable origin. This proves that The Body Shop is actively keeping track of their impact and being responsible for it — and if that’s not something worth applauding, I don’t know what is! 

Hopefully, this article has helped you find a new home (and lease of life) for your empties! If you have any unique ways of disposing or repurposing your used products, let us know in the comment section down below. ‘Till next time! 

Love,
Cheyenne

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