Green with (Lipstick) Envy

In honor of Earth Day 2008, I attempted to complete a very nonscientific survey of cosmetic companies to see if they offer recycling program for used up product containers. I sent out around 15 emails my favorite brands requesting information.

Somewhat surprisingly, only one company that I know of has a recycling program for its containers. The Back to MAC program will give you a free lipstick of your choice if you return 6 primary packaging containers to a MAC counter or store. Recycling with incentive...nice!

Also notable is CARGO PlantLove Botanical Lipstick. They don't have an exchange recycling program, but the entire lipstick container is made out of corn, which just warms my Ohio-born soul. I don't understand how is this possible, but yay science! And if that weren't cool enough, the outer packaging carton for the lipstick is made of "flower paper" embedded with real flower seeds. that you can moisten, plant, and wait for a bouquet of wild flowers to grow! And, if you didn't feel like a do-gooder already, they make a donation to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital for every tube purchased. I'm sold. What colors look pretty? I'm thinking the Kilarney or Lola. The Cargo PlantLove lipsticks retail for $20 online or at your friendly neighborhood Sephora.

A few companies (Shu Uemura, Korres) testily replied that they do not have product recycling programs but that they are very eco-friendly at the source and in their manufacturing. The rest of my informal survey participants either didn't address the question directly or they referred me to my local facilities for information on recycling. One company, BeneFit, gets props for sending back a pleasant email thanking me for my inquiry and reporting that they will pass the suggestion along for further development. I look forward to that.

Last, but not least, I should mention the Seattle-based company, Butter London is having a nail polish exchange "Turn in Your Toxins" program now through May 15th. There here is concern regarding three ingredients sometimes found in nail polish, called The Big 3 (Formaldehyde, Toluene, and DBP) that may be linked to cancer, birth defects, and other nasty things. There has been a movement to get away from these nasties and you now see many polishes advertising as "Big 3 Free." Butter London is helping you turn over your new Big 3 Free leaf by offering a free Butter London polish to customers who turn in three bottles of traditional formula polish. I overheard a woman at the salon refer to these polishes as "more natural." I'm not sure I'd go that far, but to each her own. Here's a good article on Big 3.



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