As we celebrate Earth Week - and our commitment to being zero-waste by 2025 - we thought we’d share our social media team’s handy hack for upcycling glass bottles from skincare products.
Our community loved the Reel we posted describing how to upcycle an empty bottle of Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner into an adorable DIY flower vase. But here’s the thing about how-to Reels: you have to watch them a million times to remember each step. So we’re sharing it here on the blog in hopes of giving your thumbs (and the planet) a break.
Waste and The Beauty Industry
The cosmetics industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging every year. In the US alone, almost 7.9 billion units of rigid plastics were created just for beauty products in 2018. And while many well-meaning consumers dutifully toss those plastic containers into their blue cans, less than 9 percent of all plastics actually end up being recycled. The rest ends up clogging landfills for eons to come, or worse, bobbing in the ocean and slowly breaking down into harmful microplastics.
What’s more, plastic can leech toxic chemicals. This can make it harder to upcycle beauty products with plastic packaging, resulting in even more waste.
Why Upcycling Glass Bottles Is Better Than Recycling Them
While glass is 100 percent recyclable and doesn’t leech harmful chemicals, recycling it takes a lot of energy. According to the EPA, recycling glass only saves about 30% of the energy cost of creating new glass. What’s more, only about 31 percent of all glass actually gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills where it takes about 1 million years to fully biodegrade.
That means the most sustainable choice by far is to upcycle glass bottles rather than recycling them.
How To Upcycle A Glass Toner Bottle In Four Easy Steps
1. Remove the cap. Using a butter knife, carefully wedge the blade under the plastic piece on top and twist the handle to loosen it. It should pop right off.
2. Peel the label off starting at the corner. As upcycling pros, we generally find that our labels come off in one piece. If you happen to get a stubborn one, fill your sink with warm water and add 1-2 tablespoons of dish soap plus ½ cup of white vinegar. That sucker should slide right off after a 20 - 30 minute soak.