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GreenYour Lipstick

Reuse and recycle used lipstick and tubes

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Reusing or recycling leftover lipstick and lipstick tubes prevents them from ending up in landfills and reduces the need for additional raw materials to manufacturer new lipsticks.

How to reuse leftover lipstick and lipstick tubes

Use your lipstick to the max by ensuring you consume every last smudge of color with these easy use-up tips:

  • When your lipstick runs low, scrape out the tube and put leftover lipstick in a small container with Vaseline to create a tinted lip gloss. Add honey or vanilla for a natural and appealing fragrance!
  • Scrape out several old lipstick tubes and mix them for your own custom color.
  • Give used (nearly empty) lipsticks to kids for dress-up or save for Halloween makeup.
  • When lipstick accidentally melts in the car or the sun, place in the freezer for a few minutes instead of throwing it away and it will reform.

And don't forget to take care of the tubes and containers! Here are some handy uses for old lipstick tubes:

  • Wash and save empty lipstick cases and use as containers for pills, matches, pins, and band-aids.
  • Use an empty lipstick case to carry a mini sewing kit, complete with a needle and thread, button, and pin.

Find it! Lipstick companies with eco-friendly packaging and recycling programs

Avoid the worry of what to do with old lipstick tubes by purchasing products from companies that do the recycling for you! Several cosmetics companies now accept used lipstick containers, often in exchange for free cosmetics. Others offer biodegradable eco-packaging. So, keep your lips pretty and minimize the amount of landfill waste you generate by purchasing lipsticks from these companies:

  • MAC Cosmetics: This company recycles used containers for all of its cosmetic products via its Back to MAC recycling program. It offers one free MAC Lipstick for any six of its cosmetics containers returned through the mail or to any MAC Cosmetics retailer.
  • CARGO Cosmetics: The company's Plant Love lipsticks not only come in biodegradable tubes, but the paper packaging is sprinkled with wildflower seeds that blossom when planted and watered.
  • Lip-Ink International: Offers free lipsticks and free shipping for every four empty Lip Ink Lip Color vials returned for recycling.

Reusing and recycling leftover lipstick and lipstick tubes helps you go green because…

  • It reduces the resources used for manufacturing, transporting, and producing new lipsticks.
  • It minimizes the amount of lipstick that ends up in landfills or incinerators.

Every single minute, 1,484 tubes of lipstick are sold in the United States, ultimately resulting in mountains of discarded lipstick tubes that contribute to the 12 percent of solid waste that is plastic.[1] Of the nearly 29 million tons of discarded plastic, only 5.7 percent is eventually recycled, compared to nearly 50 percent of paper and 22 percent of glass and aluminum that is recovered and recycled.[2]

Lipstick waste is also detrimental to the environment as most conventional brands contain petrochemicals, which deplete the earth of a nonrenewable resource, as well as pollute the environment upon disposal. Many lipsticks also contain pigments such as lead acetates and coal-tar dyes that can seep into the water and soil and alter the chemical makeup of ecosystems. Even natural or organic non-petroleum-based lipsticks create additional waste when they end up in landfills after disposal.


  • lead acetates: Highly hazardous metal compounds used in lipsticks, hair dyes, and other hair styling products, that are known carcinogenic toxins affecting human reproduction and development, the nervous system, and respiration.
  • petrochemicals: Chemicals made from petroleum-based materials that are used in cosmetics products, plastics, pesticides, and foods.

External links


  1. Etcoff, Nancy (2000) Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty. Anchor: 102
  2. - Emerging Technology - Flower Power



I am part of an organization working to help women and we use lipstick containers as a way to give our help-line phone number confidentially. If you have containers to donate please reply here and I could communicate with you. It's recycling while participating in a good cause! Thanks!!


I have tubes to donate. Some have never been used. Please advise.



I have at least a dozen lipstick tube that I would like to send to you for your organization. Can you let me know where to send them?

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