Cosmetics. They smell good, look pretty and serve to enhance our natural beauty.
But did you know that every single pump, bottle, wand or palette once used in our own beauty routine ends up in landfill?
In Australia, 21.1 million tonnes of waste ends up in the earth each year.
This is because sadly, the majority of cosmetic products are not recyclable at all due to their complex nature (mascara tubes, nail polish, we're looking at you).
Even if we wanted to recycle it, it's just not possible. But that's all about to change.
On Thursday L'Oréal Australia launched a program in partnership with TerraCycle which gives Australian consumers the option of recycling their beauty and personal care packaging by offering a free collection and recycling service.
The best part? It doesn't even have to be L'Oréal products alone. It can be any cosmetic waste.
"TerraCycle's focus is taking traditionally unrecyclable products and making them recyclable to divert as much waste as possible from landfill," Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle told The Huffington Post Australia.
The reason this hasn't been possible in the past?
"We're able to recycle glass because it is valuable. But something like a mascara tube, because of its complex structure actually costs more to collect and process than it's worth," Szaky said.
Consumers collect their empty beauty products at home and send them to TerraCycle to be recycled with L'Oréal Australia offsetting the economic costs involved.
And that's where L'Oréal comes in.
"Consumers collect their empty beauty products at home and send them to TerraCycle to be recycled with L'Oréal Australia offsetting the economic costs involved," Szaky said.
If you're wondering why a big company like L'Oréal would go down this path, it's about thinking big and investing in something that is furthering society more than say, a glossy commercial.
"Sustainable development is integrated into L'Oréal's long term strategy and we are
committed to making a difference," Christine Burke, corporate communications
director of L'Oréal Australia told HuffPost Australia.
So how does it work?
- Go to Terracycle.com.au
- Join the L'Oréal Australia program (you can join for your home and also your office)
- Fill a cardboard box with cosmetic waste
- Download a free Australia post shipping label
- Send your cardboard box filled with cosmetic waste to a warehouse in Sydney
- Cosmetic waste gets shredded, plastics and separated
- Waste collected is then sold to companies that use plastic to make products (which means they do not have to pay more for new plastic, rather recycled plastic)
Educate yourself on what can and can't be recycled by using the free RecycleSmart app.