Refuse and Recycling Blog

How to Properly Dispose of Old Nail Polish and Cosmetics

Posted on Fri, May 02, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

How to Properly Dispose of Old Nail Polish and CosmeticsIf there’s one thing almost all of us have lying around the home, it’s old, half used cosmetics, lotions, nail polish, makeup and a variety of other beauty products. The problem arises when we try to dispose of the half used products. Many of us don't know how or what to do with it all.

If you’re thinking about just throwing them out or washing them down the sink or toilet, you need to know that you could actually be causing all sorts of damage to the environment. The problem is that most of the standard cosmetics on the market contain a huge range of potentially toxic chemicals that can cause problems when they get into the ground or worse, into our water.

In fact, in most developed countries, individuals are the culprit for the majority of the pollution in our water due to the variety of chemicals we tend to wash down our sinks. This makes it incredibly important for us to change our habits and begin to properly dispose of our beauty products, including cosmetics.

Of course, you could easily avoid many of these problems by choosing environmentally friendly cosmetics, of which there are a growing number of outstanding products on the market. These natural cosmetics don’t use all of the potentially dangerous chemicals, making them both safer for the environment and your body. If you really start to think about it, why would you want to use something on your skin that is potentially toxic?

Unfortunately, buying environmentally friendly co smetics can be quite expensive making it hard for many to use, and in fact doesn't solve the entire problem anyway. For instance, lipstick containers make up more than 12% of the plastic thrown away. The lipstick itself is environmentally friendly (less chemicals and toxins), but the packaging is still causing a significant problem. This example is showing the importance of recycling our cosmetics. There are now several  different cosmetic companies that offer recycling services for old plastic cosmetic containers, which is definitely a great place to start.

The only way that we can truly limit the damage from cosmetics disposal, is to look closely at the ingredients in our cosmetics before throwing them away ensuring that what we are disposing of won't pose a threat to the environment, and we need to recycle the containers that our cosmetics come in instead of sending them to sit in a landfill.

Nail Polish or Poison?

When looking through the products we want to dispose of, we need to make sure that we separate nail polish from the rest of our cosmetic grouping. Both nail polish and polish remover are actually quite hazardous chemicals that can cause serious problems for people, animals and the planet as a whole, and thus need to be treated as such.

In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has put nail polish and nail polish remover onto their list of hazardous products making it illegal to dispose of them improperly. All cities in the US are required to have a hazardous waste disposal facility, and this is where you’ll need to take your nail polish and polish remover so that it can be properly and professionally disposed of.

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Tags: household special waste, hazardous material, hazardous waste in Connecticut, hazardous waste