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Heroes

Your empty beauty products can do a lot more than sit in a landfill.

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Garnier Beauty Responsibly

You know that feeling when you step into a hot shower after a long, hard day?

Between the blast of steam, the sensation of suds on your scalp, and the incredible acoustics that nearly convince you to drop everything and audition for The Voice, it’s undoubtedly one of the best routines out there.

The thing about routines is — you don’t have to think that much about them. (I mean, when’s the last time you really CONSIDERED your toothbrush?) But what if we zoomed out for a second and gave some thought to the everyday items we reach for that keep us looking and feeling our best?


Like, did you know that something as basic as your shampoo bottle could achieve greatness? No joke.

All gifs via Upworthy/Garnier.

And no, we’re not just talking about its impact on your luscious locks.  

We’re talking about the bottles themselves.

After the last lather, your colorful bottle has the potential to get repurposed into something awesome. But many bottles never get the chance and, instead, end up in the landfill.

The fact is, nearly 50% of Americans don’t recycle their used beauty products. That’s a huge burden on our environment, and it has to stop.

Fortunately, some major beauty product companies are taking significant steps towards change. For example, Garnier is implementing some seriously impressive sustainability practices to help provide a comprehensive solution to beauty packaging waste.

So, instead of ending up in a landfill, shampoo bottles like yours can take on a whole other life.

It all starts at the factory.

You see, back when your bottle was just a glimmer in a manufacturer’s eye, some brands were thinking of the big picture and adopted sustainable practices at the ground level.

Garnier, for one, has reduced emissions at their plants and distribution centers, decreased the amount of packaging, and is using recycled materials in their products. Many of their hair care offerings incorporate PET plastic into their packaging, one of the more environmentally friendly plastics like the kind used in soda bottles.

Additionally, some of Garnier’s packaging also uses 50% post-consumer recycled material (PCR) — which means it’s already served one purpose and has now been remade into a different product.

All images via Upworthy/Garnier.

So, before it found its way into your shower stall, your shampoo bottle could’ve already lived another life. Just think — it may have been part of the tennis ball used to win Roger Federer his eighth straight men’s singles title at Wimbledon.

And its journey doesn’t have to end just yet — as long as you know where to send it.

A lot of people don’t know how to recycle their shampoo bottles. Many of these bottles are actually unable to be grouped with regular recycling, so more often than not, they just get thrown in the trash.

That’s where Garnier is stepping in. In an effort to educate consumers on better recycling practices, they’ve partnered with TerraCycle — a company focused on recycling commonly non-recyclable materials.

They’re calling it their Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Program, which they hope will provide an easy solution for consumers to make a real impact.

Here’s how it works:

When it’s time to throw out your personal care products, spare them from the landfill and send them to TerraCycle instead. It’s entirely free and totally possible to do from your own home. It’s a small effort, but trust us, these bottles can add up to make a big difference.

Once you've collected 10 pounds or more, mail them in, and Garnier will donate two cents for every personal care product to the charity of your choice. There’s never been a better reason to shower twice a day. (Unless maybe if you’re a long-distance runner in Death Valley… Then, you do you.)

However, if you’re not literally planting a tree and watching it grow or picking up trash on your street — both awesome things you should totally do, by the way — it can be hard to see the positive impact your actions have on the environment.

So, when you mail in a box full of your used bottles, it might leave you wondering what exactly they will be used for.

Rest easy: Those bottles could end up doing amazing things for a community in need.

After TerraCycle collects your bottles and many others like yours, they repurpose them into something entirely new and awesome, like park benches. That’s right, someone might be enjoying a lovely afternoon in the park sitting on your favorite hair sudser.  

And that’s just the beginning.

Thanks to Garnier, some of these bottles also go towards the creation of awesome eco-friendly projects, like this community garden in Harlem, which is made up of 1,500 pounds of recycled personal care waste. Just imagine, your bottle might be living out its destiny helping to grow fresh and sustainable nutrition for an entire community.

Some recycled bottles even get turned into recycling bins, inspiring others to follow your lead in saving the planet.

That’s a lot of impact for something that regularly goes overlooked. But your little bottle can’t do all that on its own.

The commitment to living sustainably, limiting landfill waste, and ultimately saving the planet is very much a group effort.

Change happens on all levels — from the factory floor to your shower. And while companies like Garnier and TerraCycle are making a major effort, it’s up to us as individuals to keep the green trend going and make sure beauty products stay out of landfills.

So far, the group effort seems to be working —more than 10 million bottles have already been diverted.

That’s a huge impact, but it’s only the beginning. More and more companies are prioritizing sustainability and more consumers are adopting these impactful recycling practices.

When it comes to the environment, we can only afford to move forward.

Turns out this amazing planet and a single shampoo bottle have something in common — they are both just too precious to waste.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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