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Once creams and cosmetics expire, many people just toss them in the trash or empty them down the drain. However, when you do not properly dispose of your old cosmetics and creams, you run the risk of the jars and cases opening in the trash or contaminating water. Certain cosmetics contain ingredients that are hazardous to water, and open containers of cosmetics and creams at the landfill can eventually get into the water or sewage system and kill beneficial bacteria. When beneficial bacteria is killed, it compromises the entire ecosystem. Instead of taking a chance, dispose of your creams and cosmetics by properly removing the product and safely throwing it away.

Get a large mason jar and a securely fitting lid. You need a lid for the jar that will not come off and is not easily removed. Mason jars are ideal for throwing away cosmetics because the jars are thick and come with lids that can be tightened and taped.

Open your unwanted or expired cosmetics. Scoop out the creams into the mason jar. Break up any solid cosmetics, such as eye shadow, with a butter knife over the jar. Squeeze any tube cosmetics into the jar, as well. Remove as much of the creams and cosmetics from their original jars and tubes as possible.

Put the lid on the mason jar. Tighten the lid as much as possible. Tape around the lid with duct tape. The duct tape helps keep the lid from coming off.

Fill a sink with hot, soapy water. Place the empty cream and cosmetic containers or cases in the water. Let them soak until the water cools completely. The hot water and soap helps remove any makeup and cream from the containers. Drain your sink after the water cools and rinse out the cream jars and cosmetic containers.

Place your mason jar full of creams and cosmetics in the garbage bin or take it to the landfill.


Some makeup manufacturers take back old makeup. Before you discard your expired or unwanted cosmetics and creams, check with the manufacturer.

If you have unopened cosmetics that you do not want or that are about to expire, donate them to women’s shelters or thrift stores.

Instead of discarding your empty cosmetic jars and cases, use them for storage around the house or use them in crafting projects.


Avoid emptying your cosmetics down the drain or in the toilet. Many cosmetics are not biodegradable and can get in the water.