Guide for Reuse, Repair, Recycling, and Safe Disposal
for Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City of Palo Alto
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Personal Care & Beauty Product Packaging

Empty, dry cardboard, paperboard, food and beverage glass, aluminum, steel, and plastics #1 & #2's can be recycled curbside when empty of product.

Contact your brands for their take-back or packaging recycling policy. Consider reuse of cleaned packaging before disposal. Plastic sprayers, pumps, and droppers may be cleaned & reused, but are generally considered contamination in the recycling bin. Empty tubes for lotion, lip and eye products, and such belong in the trash, along with sachets or packets made of multiple materials like plastic, paper &/or foil/metal.

Learn about why recycling beauty packaging is hard & actions to take, like finding a shop to bring your own packaging to refill or choosing brands that sell refills.

Per CalRecycle, please do not put unmedicated lotions, cosmetics, fragrances, sunscreen agents, and similar products down the drain or into the toilet; the best "somewhere else" to throw these items is your household trash. Landfills are the best place at present to dispose of personal care products when they are no longer being used. Click here for medicated lotions, creams and shampoos, and here for nail polish. Old vitamins and supplements may be composted.

Oakland accepts this item in your curbside recycling container.

Empty and drip-free rigid plastics over 4" may go in the recycling. Other plastic packaging may go in the trash. Some brands offer take back of packaging for recycling.

Additional Online Resources for Personal Care & Beauty Product Packaging

  • TerraCycle -
  • g2Revolution -
    Perfume, Body Spray, Nail Polish / Remover, Body Mist, Creams, Lotions, Liquid Makeup (Including Flammable), Shampoo, Conditioner, Soaps
  • Clean the World -
    Accept hotel toiletries (soaps and bottled amenities) to create new hygiene products and recycle the packaging. After program registration, bins are sent, when 1/2 full, they send shipping labels & new bins.
  • SkipShapiro Enterprises -
    Commercial volume. Services include depackaging of alcohol-based health, beauty and cosmetic products. These products are repurposed as feedstock for ethanol and utilized to create renewable fuels and alcohol products. Consumer packaged products are separated from the liquids and all of the materials are recycled.

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