Cosmetics recycling trial aims to design out packaging waste

Cosmetics recycling trial aims to design out packaging waste

By Pamela Jolly  August 18th, 2022

A surprisingly large amount of waste is produced by cosmetic packaging, but a new trial is aiming to ensure as much of it as possible is recycled into new products.


Close the Loop, with the support of the Australian Government, are running a trial to collect all brands of makeup and beauty product packaging for recycling. The trial is running from the 22nd of July and collection boxes have been installed in 12 Myer stores, across Australia.  

"We want to collect as many cosmetics items as possible during the eight week trial period, so that we can research and test new ways of recycling to achieve higher value end products, while testing the feasibility of a cosmetics stewardship scheme by analysing the overall effort and cost.” Elsie Fulton, project manager at Close the Loop, told Packaging News.

Cosmetic packaging is difficult to recycle through traditional means. Residue product is challenging to extract, and the mixed nature of materials used often results in the majority of products ending up in landfill.  

To ensure products don’t end up in landfill, Close the Loop will sort the recycled items into eight categories and re-manufacture into new products. Glass will be crushed to be used in building materials, plastics shredded to become asphalt or concrete additive, metals separated and recycled. Materials that cannot be added to one of these processes will be used to fire a low-carbon emissions cement kiln.  

The ban of mixed plastics exports out of Australia, that came into effect in July 2022, has highlighted the urgency of Australia’s race to recycle and work towards a more circular economy. High consumer demand for cosmetic products coupled with the difficult nature of cosmetics recycling make the sector fertile ground for innovation.  

The cosmetics industry is big business, with Australian women spending about $3,600 on the beauty industry every year. The rise of gender-neutral trends has also led to a greater number of men investing in beauty and skincare treatments.  

This program is an exciting step forward in Australia’s efforts to manage waste from this growing industry and build toward a product stewardship framework.The results are expected to be used as an example to demonstrate to designers and manufacturers the benefits of designing sustainably, through all product stages, to reduce waste.  

You can view a complete list of items you can recycle through the trial including old perfume bottles, moisturisers, lip balms, nail polish remover and many more on the organisation’s website.  

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Positive Actions

Pamela Jolly

Pamela is a Marketing Communications professional with over 10 years experience working for both agencies and organisations in communications, travel, finance and retail industries. Pamela loves to be in nature riding a bike, skiing, appreciating the trees at her local park or exploring wild places abroad with her family.

Related Stories

Stay up to date

Whether you're looking for positive inspiration at home, at work or in the community you’ll find something in our suite of e-newsletters.