Jeweled Thumb's latest entry got me thinking. Her "November Empties" article, made me wonder how all of us dispose of all of our empty makeup and skincare containers. I, for one, try lots of different products, and always try to use them all up- unless of course they are truly horrible. Even when I don't much care for a product I do try to find an alternative use for it. For instance, if I don't like a face cream very much then I usually use it as a body cream instead. I have also had many facial cleansers that I didn't like for my face that made excellent body soaps or shaving creams. Once I even had a huge container of shampoo that was so stripping and horrible that I decided that it would be perfect for cleaning the shower, bathtub and sinks (and it was!).
What I am always left with is a pile of empty containers, many of which do not meet the criteria for the city recycling program in my area. Many of the plastics used are difficult to recycle, and many (like lipstick and eyeshadow packaging) combine metals with plastics making them difficult to separate). Whenever I would toss an empty lipstick tube into my recycle bin I realized that despite my efforts to keep it out of the landfill that it would probably ultimately find its way there anyway.
Origins had the wisdom to be the first company in the cosmetic industry to not only address the issue of what to do with these empty cosmetic packages, but more importantly to really do something about it. According to Origins: "Everyday packaging accounts for 33% of all landfill waste. Most community recyclers only take items made from materials that are easily recognized- such as soda and water bottles. Cosmetic and toiletry bottles, tubes, caps and jars are among those items not easily recognized and therefore not often recycled."
On March 29, 2009, Origins introduced the first of its kind recycling program in North America that "encouraged its customers to bring their empty previously unrecyclabe cosmetic tubes, bottles and jars, etc.- regardless of their brand- to their nearest Origins retail store or department store counters." The Return to Origins Recycling Program sends all of the returned packaging back to a central location where the products are recycled or used for energy recovery. It is their belief that the more that they collect from consumers, the more that they can keep all of our cosmetic packaging out of the landfills. Since launching their program, Origins has recycled more than 17,000 pounds of cosmetic packaging, and the company is planning to expand this program to other regions in an effort to be good global citizens. THIS IS FANTASTIC!!
I have been bringing my empty cosmetics containers to my local Origins counter for a few years now, and I have to say that it is always a very pleasant experience. Every time that I go I am profusely thanked by the Origins employees who always give me a generous sample of one of their best-sellers.
Be sure not to hand over any of your empty MAC containers though-- because the Back to MAC Program accepts returns of all of its primary packaging. By returning 6 MAC containers (either to a MAC Counter, a MAC Boutique, or to MAC Cosmetics online) you will be rewarded with a MAC lipstick of your choice as their way of saying thanks!