Perfume bottles can be difficult to recycle, since they come in varying shapes and with different materials such as glass, plastic, etc. How do you dispose of perfume bottles then? This post has some answers for this and other perfume-bottle questions!
Psst: Our post on the perfect non toxic perfume can help you zero in on brands that sell perfume in recyclable bottles!
What you can do with empty bottles is try to repurpose the tops/caps, and send the bottom for recycling. You could, alternatively, consider upcycling the bottle, and reusing it in a new avatar. Perhaps as a vase (is it big enough?). Or, a liquid soap bottle in the bathroom? You could make a fancy candle holder out of it, or a diffuser. Or, you could simply place some faux flowers in it and call it a day!
Prefer to recycle that bottle? Now, perfume bottles are notoriously costly to recycle, so it’s best to send them to a program like Terracycle, which has brand-specific recycling programs for hard-to-recycle waste streams.
But before that, check directly with the perfume manufacturer if they have a recycling program. This information will be available on their website. If they do have a recycling program, then send the bottles to them. If they don’t (or if you can’t find the information), then Terracycle it is!
Check the bottom of your perfume bottle for a recyclable glass symbol. The number inside a triangular arrow symbol will explain what needs to be done. 70 is for mixed glass. 71 is for clear glass. 72 is for green glass, and 79 is for gold-backed glass.
Can You Pour Old Perfume Down the Drain?
No! Perfumes can contain toxic ingredients, so simply pouring it down the drain is not a good idea. Let’s first assess what we have here.
Is it a new-ish perfume bottle with most of the perfume in the bottle?
You could donate it to Project Beauty Share, who collect perfumes, makeup, etc to give to women and families who are overcoming abuse, addiction, homelessness and poverty. Their website shares more details about what they accept. You could also enquire at your local women’s shelter if they accept perfumes.
If you’re in the UK, you could try Freecycle, the non-profit movement for recycling and keeping stuff out of landfills.
Is the perfume past its expiry date?
Then it’s best to dispose of it through your local hazardous waste disposal program. The rules differ from place to place, and are quite strict, so check your local waste management ordinances before pouring the perfume anywhere.
How to Recycle Perfume Bottles?
You can recycle the glass, of course, and either repurpose it into something else, or send it to Terracycle. You could also drop it off at your local glass recycling center (ask them first and make sure it’s ok!). Also check with the recycler what you can do with the plastic cap and atomizer.
You will have to rinse out the glass bottle (don’t pour it down the drain), and then send it in for recycling.
Can you reuse this perfume bottle by refilling it with the same perfume?
Well, that depends on the manufacturer. Traditionally, manufacturers made the bottles such that they could not be opened – thus preventing diluting or refilling. But nowadays, more eco-conscious perfume manufacturers are creating bottles that can be refilled with refill pouches that they also sell. So try one of those brands out the next time you are looking to buy some perfume! There are also loads of non-toxic deodorants, if you’re looking to switch!
How Do I Sell Empty Perfume Bottles?
Are perfume bottles worth anything? Well, to the right buyer, yes! If you have top brand bottles, you could sell them to collectors. If you’re lucky enough to be in possession of a vintage perfume bottle, you could make a pretty penny on it. List your bottle on eBay or Etsy. Or you could simply take it to a vintage shop locally and enquire there.
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