10 beauty brands that will reward you for returning your empties

Whether it’s using a reusable water bottle, saying no to straws and single-use cutlery or carrying a fabric tote, we’re all becoming more and more conscious of the way our choices impact the planet – and from excess packaging to questionable ingredients, our beauty regimes can be some of the biggest offenders.

But there are brands on the high street that are doing their bit – and even better, will reward you for doing yours too. Here are just some of the stores that allow you to recycle or reuse your packaging, and give you a gift or discount in return.

The Perfume Shop

The Perfume Shop
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Fancy 10 per cent off your go-to scent? Perfume containers are notoriously difficult to recycle locally, with some councils refusing to accept them – but that won’t be a problem from now on.

With the new Bottle Recycling Scheme, you can bring an empty bottle back to The Perfume Shop so that it can process it responsibly, and you’ll be entitled to a voucher that will give you 10 per cent off your in-store spend that day. Hooray!

Neal’s Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies
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Back in June, Neal’s Yard Remedies rolled out the NYR Recycle Scheme, where you can take in tricky to recycle items (think facial wipe packages, pumps, atomisers and the like) from any brand, and staff will take care of it for you. Now it has gone one step further, with an initiative that allows you to refill bestselling products in store once they run dry.

At the moment, it’s only available on two items (the Geranium & Orange Hand Wash and Bee Lovely Bath & Shower Gel) – and in 10 locations, but with NYR’s dedication to eco-friendly methods, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more coming soon. And every time you top up an old container, you’ll save £2 per bottle.

John Lewis & Partners

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John Lewis is trialling a new recycling scheme for 500,000 loyalty members. The test, which will run for nine months, applies to any beauty product with the exception of perfume bottles, nail varnish and aerosol cans, and allows customers to bring their empties 36 participating stores to receive a £5 discount on a beauty purchase in return.

‘Beauty products are notoriously hard to recycle which can make it hard for customers to know what to do with them, which often means they end up being thrown in the bin,’ said Martyn White, senior sustainability manager at John Lewis. ‘One of our key aims is to make being sustainable as easy as possible for customers, so it doesn’t have to be a difficult choice.’

The Body Shop

beauty recycling rewards
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The Body Shop is known for its eco-friendly ethos anyway, but just upped the ante with the launch of its Return. Recycle. Repeat scheme, which encourages customers to bring back when you return any five empty bottles, tubs, tubes or pots to be repurposed and recycled into raw materials for new products, via nationwide initiative TerraCycle.

In return, Love Your Body Club members will also receive a reward worth £5. ‘It’s just a little thank you for being awesome and helping us recycle for the planet,’ the brand says.

Lush

beauty recycling rewards
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Lush uses alternatives like silk wraps and ‘naked’ products wherever possible, but its trademark black pots are also made from polypropylene plastic that’s already recycled – and it wants you to help it keep the loop closed.

Take back five of your clean tubs and Lush will melt down and reformulate these black pots again and again. For your trouble, you’ll get a free fresh face mask – win win!

Mac

beauty recycling rewards
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If you’re an avid Mac customer, you’re probably already aware of the Back to Mac programme, which has been running for years. But if you’re not, it’s pretty simple to get to grips with – simply return six primary packaging containers to a counter store, and you’ll get a free Mac lipstick, worth £15.50.

The only exemptions from the offer are the lipsticks and lipglasses from the Viva Glam range, as 100 per cent of the selling price of these is provided to organisations that help people living with HIV/AIDS.

Kiehl’s

beauty recycling rewards
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Recycle & Be Rewarded, Kiehl’s encourages, by giving customers loyalty cards that get stamped every time they return an empty Kiehl’s product, or shop with a reusable bag.

Once you’ve built up 10 stamps, you’ll get a complimentary travel size product from the range, perfect for popping in your carry-on on your next short-haul trip.

& Other Stories

beauty recycling rewards
& Other Stories

You may already know that Scandi brand & Other Stories – part of the same group that owns H&M – will recycle your clothes, but did you know they do the same for beauty products too?

Bring back one or more containers from the brand’s colour cosmetics, bath and body and skin care ranges to any one of our stores, and it’ll give you a 10 per cent discount voucher that’s valid across the store for three months.

Le Labo

beauty recycling rewards
Le Labo

Cult perfume line Le Labo is a favourite of beauty editors and insiders across the country – and it’s not just the scent itself that keeps them coming back for more.

When you bring an empty bottle of your signature spritz back to Le Labo, it’ll give you the option to refill the same container with the product; you’ll get a discount of 20 per cent on the usual RRP, and produce less waste in the process.

Garnier

beauty recycling rewards
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Like The Body Shop, Garnier is a partner of Terracycle, and will allow you to recycle any item of beauty waste, even if it’s not usually processed through your local collection. Sign up for an account and you’ll get a freepost label to send in your empty packaging for recycling, or alternatively, you can use their growing network of public drop-off locations across the UK.

For every item of Garnier packaging sent, you’ll receive TerraCycle points that can be redeemed as cash donations to your favourite non-profit organisation – possibly the most rewarding incentive of them all.