How to bag a FREE £17.50 lipstick and a face mask, and other skincare rewards for recycling

How to bag a FREE £17.50 lipstick and a face mask, and other skincare rewards for recycling

Most of us want to do our bit to help the planet, yet beauty products often come in packaging that isn't easily recycled. You might not know, however, that a few big brands will reward you with FREEBIES for returning your empty containers...

Recently, we’ve all become more aware of plastic waste, and research suggests only 14% of plastics are recycled worldwide. So here’s a way for you to up your recycling of make-up and skincare AND be rewarded for your efforts with fantastic freebies from popular brands.

MAC - free £17.50 lipstick

Interesting fact… MAC is an acronym for Makeup Art Cosmetics, and MAC is another company that offers a free product if you help it recycle its packaging.

To get a free lipstick of your choice (excluding Viva Glam lipsticks), simply return six used MAC containers to a MAC counter.

Its lipsticks are normally £17.50 each, so if you’re a loyal fan of MAC and have six products on the go, be sure to keep the containers when you finish them. You can read more about the ‘Back to MAC’ program on its website.

Lush - free £7.50 face mask

If you’ve not heard of Lush, it’s an ethical company that sells vegan and vegetarian make-up and skincare products either ‘naked’ (oo-err missus – this just means without packaging), or in recycled and recyclable pots.

If you save up five of its black, recyclable pots you can bring them to any store to exchange them for a free fresh face mask – normally £7.50, so it's well worth keeping the pots. Lush says they must be used and clean when you return them, and you can read more about Lush's commitment to recycling on its website.

Kiehl’s - free travel-sized product

If you’ve not heard of Kiehl’s, it started as an apothecary (old-timey pharmacy) in New York and is now a skincare specialist.

It offers a stamp-card based scheme where you can bring in an empty Kiehl’s full-sized or travel-sized product to any Kiehl’s standalone store and receive one stamp per item.

When you have 10 stamps, you’ll get a free travel-sized product of your choice (subject to availability) up to the value of £9.50. There’s an example of Kiehl’s ‘Recycle and be Rewarded’ stamp card and more information on its website.

New. John Lewis - free £5 off beauty products for some

John Lewis has announced it's trialling a recycling scheme for selected My John Lewis card members until Sun 14 Jul. It's only valid in 36 stores with what it calls 'full-line beauty services'. Any brand's packaging can be brought for recycling – except for nail polish or perfume bottles, as well as aerosols (which you might be able to recycle at home).

The only catch is you have to already be a My John Lewis card member, and you have to have been invited to participate – it says half a million will be – so check your email to see if you have. The £5 off voucher will be added to your card, and you'll have to spend it on the same day you redeem it, on beauty products only. You can read about the 'BeautyCycle' trial on its website.

New. L'Occitane - 10% off

Another brand working with Terracycle is L'Occitane, where can get a voucher for 10% off a new full-sized product on the day you return your empties from any brand in store - good if you've run out and there's no sale. See full T&Cs for participating stores and what's accepted.

There are some items you can't bring back, like glass and aerosols (some glass and aerosol cans are accepted in kerbside collections - check your local area). However, it says perfume bottles are accepted, which confusingly are glass. Did you know sometimes you can sell old perfume bottles on eBay? See our Flog your rubbish for cash guide for more information, as you'll likely get more back for your bottle this way.

Reward over. The Body Shop - free £5 voucher

It used to be the case that, if you had a Body Shop 'Love Your Body' loyalty card, you’d receive a £5 voucher when returning any five clean and empty bottles, tubs, tubes or pots from Body Shop products. The £5 reward is no longer available, but The Body Shop still encourages you to return and recycle its packaging. There's some packaging you can't return for recycling (eg, nail polish), and some stores can't accept items – including outlets, airports and train station stores. See full T&Cs for more information.

What if I don’t use these brands and still want to recycle?

While these brands currently have the best make-up and skincare recycling schemes we’ve seen, you can also recycle a few things via Garnier’s partnership with ‘Terracycle’. You can sign up and print a free label to send in various items that aren’t normally recycled in kerbside collections, such as face mask packaging and aluminium hair dye tubes.

You’ll not get money off directly, but you can accrue ‘points’ which you can exchange for a donation to charity, and you’ll also get a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing a bit more of the packaging waste in your bathroom is being recycled – priceless.

Has this inspired you to declutter your make-up bag and get recycling? Have you any other recycling tips? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.