We reported on MAC Cosmetics' free recycling program when we updated our report on lipstick. And recently, we were pleased to stop by a MAC store and hear the sales clerks reminding people of the program at checkout. We just think it's a good program that bears mention again.
Here's how the "Back to MAC" program works: MAC cosmetics recycles your empty MAC lipstick, eye shadow and mascara containers. And if you turn in six of them, you'll get a free lipstick in return. This got us wondering if any other companies had similar programs...
It's true that MAC cosmetics are more expensive than drugstore brands (eye shadow starts at about $15; mascara starts at about $12), and to get the free lipstick, you're looking at a minimum investment of about $70. Still, if you're already a fan of MAC makeup, it's not a bad deal (the free lipstick has a $14 value). You can take advantage of the recycling plan by bringing your empties to any store location, or you can mail them in (though you'll have to pay postage).
Origins also takes back containers; it's called the "Return to Origins Recycling Program." Origins will take back empty cosmetics containers from ANY manufacturer -- giving you a way to recycle even drugstore brands. The company will give you a sample-size Origins product in return.
Aveda is also doing something different. This company will take your plastic caps from any product: soda bottles, shampoo tops, caps from cleaning supplies. While many municipalities accept the bottles themselves for recycling, almost no areas will accept caps. Aveda doesn't accept empty cosmetics containers, but the company points out that most of its containers are made of #1 or #2 plastic, or glass -- which are accepted by most municipal recycling programs.