the skin edit.

Your post-Christmas sustainable recycling guide

Living a clean and sustainable beauty life is essential for the health of our planet. After all, there is absolutely no point in looking beautiful, if we end up with nowhere to live!  

Every year, a mind-boggling amount of waste from the beauty industry ends up in landfill. Did you know:

• 120 billion units of plastic is produced by the global  cosmetics industry each year
• By 2050 our oceans could contain more plastic than fish
• Bubble-wrap and shrink-wrap take up to 1000 years to decompose

The global cosmetics industry produces 120 billion tons of plastic per year, bulked out by the use of multi-layered boxes and plastic wrap, much of which is superfluous, non-recyclable and ends up in our landfills and in our oceans.

Although most beauty brands are making valiant efforts to shift the balance, the potential for impact relies on consumer buy-in. It’s super-important that you know how to recycle, upcycle, and choose sustainable beauty products so that we’re all working together to minimise environmental damage and create a better future for our planet.


Let’s start with the symbols you might see on your skincare products – the most common ones seen in skincare and what they actually mean:

Recycling Guide - Utilities & Energy Services

This symbol indicates that a product’s packaging can be recycled, not that it has been recycled or that it is accepted in all recycling collection systems. The symbol may be accompanied by a percentage figure in the middle or around the perimeter to explain that x% of the packaging is recycled.

This is a European trademark and it means that suppliers and producers have contributed financially to the recycling of packaging in Europe. For example, Repak Members can use this symbol on their packaging as they pay fees to Repak to fund recycling in Ireland. The symbol does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable, has been recycled or will be recycled

Companies may be certified by PETA under one of two designations:
Global animal test–free recognizes companies and brands that have verified that they and their suppliers do not conduct, commission, pay for, or allow any tests on animals for their ingredients, formulations, or finished products anywhere in the world and that they will never do so in the future.

Global animal test–free and vegan recognizes companies and brands that meet the same requirements and whose entire product line is free of animal-derived ingredients. These companies are truly cruelty-free. Pestle & Mortar is proud to be certified as one of them.

The E mark is a small lowercase e on the bottle located next to the product’s weight or volume. This e indicates that the average weight or volume of the product listed on the bottle is the same as what’s inside. So you’re getting the amount of product advertised. 

On most cosmetic containers, there is a symbol of an open jar lid with a number followed by an M to indicate how many months the product will last once it has been opened. When cosmetics are exposed to air, they begin to oxidize. Paying attention to the date that you open cosmetic bottles can save you from the dangers of expired products and encourage you to finish a product before starting a new one, minimising waste.


Understanding what goes where when it comes to skincare containers is confusing. Do you need to wash it out? Should the container be dismantled? Is the entire thing recyclable and if so, which bin should you put it in? Particularly after Christmas when your shelves are heaving with new products and brands, knowing what to do with your empties can feel overwhelming.

The good news is, each of our products comes with recycling instructions, which you’ll find here.

Simply click on the product, follow the recycling guide, and help us to decrease the amount of beauty waste ending up in oceans or landfill.

Shop mentioned products

The Nimbu Body Ritual

The Nimbu Body Ritual

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Pure Hyaluronic Serum - 30ml

Pure Hyaluronic Serum

Hyaluronic Acid Serum - 30ml


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