make up brushes and eye shadow pots.
Facts about cosmetic waste

Makeup Waste Statistics and Facts

One thing the cosmetic industry can’t make up to look better is the amount of waste it creates. Globally, around 120 billion pieces of beauty packaging are disposed of every year. Personal and professional use of makeup and other cosmetic products produces a wide range and high volumes of waste.

Makeup and cosmetics are used daily by many of us, including eye shadow and mascara, nail polish, skin cream, and lipstick. Modelling companies and TV and film productions also use them for professional purposes. Once we’re done with many types of beauty products they get chucked away and quickly replaced.

It’s not just the packaging that generates rubbish but the products too. Wipe away any misconceptions you may have had about cosmetic waste with these makeup waste facts and stats.

What causes cosmetic waste?

Packaging is one of the main causes of cosmetic waste. All sorts of beauty products come in plastic or glass jars, tubs, bottles, and tubes. When the makeup or cosmetics have been used then the containers are often thrown away. Many are also packaged up in cardboard boxes or plastic wrap that creates extra packaging waste.

Overconsumption also generates cosmetic waste. Many of us buy beauty products and leave them in a drawer or unused for too long to the point that they expire. Then they’re thrown out and new ones bought, which can have a knock-on effect and lead to overproduction by cosmetic manufacturers.

Beauty salons, nail bars, and other aesthetic businesses create cosmetic waste too. This could be through poor stock inventory and rotation, storing cosmetics in the wrong conditions, accidental damage, and improper use. Any business that relies on cosmetics must have an efficient waste reduction and recycling plan in place.

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Makeup waste statistics

Makeup mainly refers to beauty products applied to the face, such as lipstick and mascara. According to YouGov, 38% of women say they wear makeup at least a few times a week. As makeup is basically a range of products that fall under cosmetics, there’s plenty of overlap when it comes to makeup waste statistics.

These are a few top-level makeup waste statistics:

  • Only 13% of makeup and beauty products do not contain microplastics
  • Around 70% of makeup and beauty products contain palm oil
  • Half of all makeup testers handed out in stores end up in landfill
  • 4 million tons of water is used in the beauty industry to create makeup and cosmetic products
  • 11 billion wet wipes are thrown away every year

Cosmetic waste statistics

The global cosmetics market is worth around $350 billion and is expected to exceed $500 billion by 2030. In the UK, we spend about £6.4 billion a year on cosmetics. This all goes on making ourselves look beautiful, but it has an ugly effect on the environment by creating lots of waste.

Admire the impact of the beauty industry with these cosmetic waste statistics:

  • 95% of cosmetic packaging is thrown away
  • 4% of beauty product stock is disposed of due to perishing, spoiling or damage
  • Around2% of cosmetic items are thrown away due to overproduction – higher than statistics for fashion waste, pharmaceutical, food, and the auto industry
  • Packaging is responsible for 70% of all cosmetic waste
  • Between 20 and 40% of beauty products end up as waste
  • The USA creates 9 billion units of plastic packaging for cosmetic products
  • The cosmetics industry uses 78 billion litres of water annually to create products
  • The average person buys 11 bottles of shampoo a year
  • Only 44% of Brits claim to sort and recycle empty shampoo bottles
make up brushes and colour palette.

How should I get rid 
of cosmetic waste?

Lots of cosmetic packaging is recyclable, so clean and dry it then check if the plastic type is accepted in your household waste recycling bin. You can also return some beauty products and their packaging through a takeback scheme run in some shops. This includes Boots, Kiehl’s, and Maybelline.

If you run a beauty salon or cosmetic business then you’ll need to arrange commercial waste collection of any cosmetic waste. Use a range of bins to separate waste based on its materials, such as cardboard bins to recycle any packaging. Then book removal by licensed waste carriers for safe and responsible disposal.

At Business Waste we can help with any type and amount of cosmetic waste collection from your beauty salon anywhere in the UK. We provide free bins with no delivery or hire charges – you only pay for collection. Get a free quote for cosmetic waste collection today – call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online.

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