Makeup recycling UK

Maybelline launches the UK’s largest makeup recycling scheme – and it accepts ALL brands

10th September 2020 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

Demonstrating, further, just how committed it is to sustainability, L’Oreal’s Maybelline New York brand has just announced plans to launch the UK’s largest makeup recycling scheme.

Not only is it introducing specialist in-store recycling bins in more than 1,000 Tesco, Superdrug, Boots and Sainsbury’s stores across the country, but it’s allowing you to recycle makeup from any brand, not just products sold by Maybelline.

READ NEXT: Why is everyone so excited about Clean beauty?

The scheme is being launched in partnership with TerraCycle, a leading recycling company that has similar schemes globally.

You can find your nearest recycling bin on the Maybelline website.

Once the recycling station boxes are full they are sent into TerraCycle where they are separated by polymer type, cleaned and then extruded into plastic pellets which can then be used by manufacturers to make a wide variety of products.

Below we’ve listed what you can, and can’t, recycle:


  • Compacts and palettes, including eyeshadows, powders and blushers
  • Mascara including the plastic tube and wand
  • Eyeliners such as retractable plastic liners or liquid eyeliners
  • Lip products such as plastic lip gloss tubes or bullet lipstick tubes
  • Plastic tubes and bottles of foundation and concealer
  • Other makeup packaging such as caps, pumps or trigger sprays


  • Glass bottles and cardboard packaging – many of these can already be recycled by most local council recycling schemes
  • Makeup brushes
  • Nail polish
  • Aerosols

“Makeup wearers have told us they want to recycle their finished products but they didn’t know if make-up recycling was even possible,” said Vismay Sharma, Country Managing Director of L’Oréal UK & Ireland. “We’re now making it very easy with the launch of Maybelline makeup recycling stations.

“With the influence and scale of one of the country’s most-loved makeup brands behind the campaign, we aim to lead the way in creating long term beauty recycling habits in the UK.” 

It’s not the only beauty sustainability scheme in the UK, but it is currently the largest.

Beauty Kitchen recently announced plans to install 1,000 beauty refill stations – which resemble vending machines and which have touchscreens where customers can choose their products – over the next two years to let customers refill their bottles, rather than throwing them away.

Once a customer has selected which Beauty Kitchen shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand wash or facial cleanser they want, the contents will be automatically dispensed into a reusable, aluminium bottle that Beauty Kitchen will supply.

And, to avoid allergens and bacteria, Beauty Kitchen assures users the machines will be cleaned and washed regularly.

The Maybelline launch comes after research carried out by Maybelline found that 45% of makeup wearers said they had no idea it was possible to recycle makeup, and 42% admitted they wouldn’t know where to start.

This is despite the fact 83% would describe themselves as sustainably minded or environmentally aware.

We recently wrote a piece on how long makeup lasts and why, for hygiene reasons, you should be looking to replace old makeup wherever possible. Bacteria on mascara wands or makeup sponges can, at best cause spots and at worse, make you sick.

READ NEXT: Does makeup go off? How to tell when it’s time to throw your old beauty products away

And the study found that, on average, makeup wearers currently have 12 items of makeup in their makeup bag that they will probably never use again. Some 81% of said their oldest item of makeup is up to seven years old and 14% know that makeup has a best before date but chose to disregard the guidance.

However, of those who have never recycled makeup, 30% would love to do so, and a further 49% didn’t know it was possible and feel guilty that they don’t do so already.

This week also saw L’Oreal Paris Elvive announce its own sustainability commitment designed to save 900 tonnes of plastic in the UK each year with bottles that not only can be recycled, but will be made from 100% recycled plastic.


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