Can You Recycle Perfume Bottles? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Many people purchase or even collect perfume because they love how it smells. The perfume bottles themselves are beautiful, so it is common to hold on to them even when the perfume inside is long gone. 

However, for those who want to get rid of the perfume bottles but do not want to contribute to waste, you may want to know if perfume bottles are recyclable. Continue reading to find out this answer and more!

Can You Recycle Perfume Bottles?

If properly cleaned and prepped for recycling, your glass perfume bottles can be recycled.  Furthermore, most perfume bottles are made out of glass, which is 100% recyclable. However, check with the city you live in and ask about glass recycling before disposing of your perfume bottles. 

Read on to learn all about how you can help the environment by recycling perfume bottles and how you can “upcycle” them for other uses.

Recycling Glass Perfume Bottles

Recycling glass perfume jars and bottles are good for the environment. 

There are specific guidelines that every city defines for recycling, but glass can be recycled and reused. This makes perfume bottles a perfect candidate for recycling. 

However, before they can be recycled, they need to be properly prepared for the process.  

  • You will need to clean out perfume bottles.
  • You will need to remove any extra materials from your bottle.
  • If you mix materials, the recycling company will have a hard time sorting them. 

Since recycling companies take plastic, glass, and cardboard, they sort everything out onsite. 

Therefore, if the bottle is a different color than clear or brown glass, you should check the bottle and make sure you can indeed recycle it. 

This is because clear and brown glass bottles are preferable colors to break down and recycle and break down.

Where To Recycle Perfume Bottles 

Sometimes, you cannot recycle a perfume bottle due to the material it is made of. 

However, what you can do if your local recycling center won’t take your bottle is call other recycling companies and ask if they will take the bottle. 

Companies like Freecycle.org can recycle your glass bottle.

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How To Recycle Perfume Bottles

How To Recycle Perfume Bottles 

Therefore, before you toss your recycled perfume bottles inside the recycling can check your local recycling company to see if they will recycle perfume bottles. 

You should do this as some cities have separate disposal methods for recycling glass. 

Other cities, however, can recycle cans, plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, and glass altogether.  

Furthermore, when you are finished using your perfume bottles and wish to recycle them, make sure you follow these steps.

  • Check the labels: The recycling symbol will be on the bottom of a recyclable glass container. If the label says you cannot recycle, then throw your perfume bottle away or use them for something else. 
  • Take off the cap, remove the spray nozzle, and dispose of them separately: Remove any plastic or metal from the bottle. If it has decoration, remove it so that only glass appears.
  • Pour out any remaining liquid: Ensure there is no more perfume in the bottle and rinse it out with hot water. 
  • Clean the bottles: Rinse empty bottles out with warm vinegar and water. 
  • Rinse out with soap and water twice and dry in the sun: This helps the recycling process start smoothly when the trucks transfer all of the glass bottles to the recycling facility.
  • Put the glass in a separate container: Put the bottles inside a paper bag or cardboard box inside of your recycling can.

Check The Labels

Check your perfume bottles for the recycling symbol. Furthermore, the symbol has a triangle and arrows all around it.

If your bottle does not have a symbol, it is either made of several different kinds of glass, has some metal or plastic in it, or cannot be recycled because of the manufacturer. 

This should be done as it is essential to determine whether your glass bottle or jar is recyclable before tossing it in the bin. 

If your glass bottle has one of these numbers inside the triangle recycling symbol, then it is recyclable:

  • 70
  • 71
  • 72
  • 79  

Additionally, you can always check with the manufacturer of the perfume and ask if they have a recycling program of their own.

If they do, they might give you an address to send your bottles. 

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Remove And Dispose Of The Cap And Nozzle

If you checked the label and the bottle is recyclable, it is time to take off and dispose of any extra materials on your glass bottle. 

You can twist off the cap and then use pliers to peel off any other metal or plastic. Then, remove the nozzle or the straw-like object and throw it away. 

Pour Out Any Remaining Liquid

Perfume contains harmful chemicals that can hinder the recycling process. 

Therefore, if your glass bottle has any remaining liquid at the bottom of the bottle, pour it out. 

This is recommended to do as sometimes the recycling plant will just throw away a bottle of perfume if it still has any droplets inside of it. 

So by removing any excess liquid, you are making the process as efficient as possible. 

Clean The Bottle Or Jar With Vinegar

The jar or bottle has had the same smelly liquid inside of it for a long time. By cleaning it with warm vinegar, you are taking away any of the harsh chemicals from the perfume. 

Ensure your glass jar is clean and without smell before you put it in the recycle bin. 

Rinse With Warm, Soapy Water, Then Dry 

After cleaning with vinegar, rinse the bottles with warm water and dish soap. You can use a thin scrubber tool and scrub on the inside of the bottle. 

Next, let your bottle or jar sit outside in the hot sun or on a sunny window ledge. This way, your bottle will dry quickly. 

Place Inside Separate Container 

When your glass bottle is finished drying, place it in a separate container from other recycling materials. 

This way, you have sorted the recyclable materials already for the workers who are coming to pick up your bin. 

If your city recycles glass separately at a different recycling plant, maybe keep a bag or cardboard box around the house to collect bottles to take to the recycling bin. 

What Materials Make Up Perfume Bottles? 

Perfume bottles are all typically made out of the same materials.

  • Most perfume bottles are made of glass.
  • Some perfume bottles are made of plastic.
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Both glass and plastic bottles can be recyclable. If your glass or plastic bottles are recyclable, they will have a triangle recycle symbol with arrows indicating so. 

Furthermore, knowing what type of glass or plastic your perfume bottles are will help you determine whether you can recycle them or not. 

If you do not know if it is recyclable, find the number on the bottom of the bottle and look up the number inside the triangle. 

How To Reuse And Upcycle Perfume Bottles

The designers and manufacturers work hard to make perfume bottles enticing and aesthetically pleasing.

Therefore, there are several ways to reuse and upcycle perfume bottles if you do not plan on sending them to the recycling bin.

Here are some ideas for upcycling an empty perfume bottle: 

  • Use it as a small vase to hold wildflowers in the spring.
  • Make a candle out of it and put wax inside. 
  • Paint it as an art project. 
  • Hold the oil infuser inside of your old perfume bottles. 
  • Put mosquito repellent in your old perfume bottle. 
  • Use as home decor and place featured bottles in a prominent place. 
  • Place your empty, uncleaned fragrance bottle in your dresser drawer to let the smell linger. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle butane cans, whether you can recycle business cards, and whether you can recycle baking trays.

Conclusion

In almost all cases, you can recycle perfume bottles, especially glass ones. Most perfume bottles are designed to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye, so you might even decide to keep them on the shelf and upcycle them into a decoration before tossing them. 

However, if you do want to get rid of them, you can choose the environmentally-friendly route and recycle them according to your local utility company’s guidelines.

Author

  • Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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