Quick Tips to Recycle Your Beauty Products

Beauty Product How to Recycle Quick Tips London Drugs

It may come as a surprise, but even though a lot of us know the importance of recycling (especially amidst growing concerns for the health of our planet), not all Canadians are aware of what can be recycled. A whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled (whoa!) and each year about 8 million metric tons of plastic is thrown into the ocean. 

An annual awareness campaign, Zero Waste Week, reported that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. Our beauty routines affect the environment, and that’s why we want to find ways to support us all in becoming more conscious of what we do with items like our empty shampoo bottles and hairspray cans.

Let’s face it—recycling beauty products can feel like a daunting task. With so many different materials in packaging, sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s recyclable or destined for the trash. So, we’ve laid it all out for you to make the process smoother.

Your Quick Recycling Checklist

Local rules: It’s important to look into your local recycling rules, as every city has varying restrictions. Your local government website is a great place to start.

Recycling logo: The recycling logo is a good indicator that an item is recyclable. 

Lather, rinse, repeat: Yes, you do have to rinse out bottles before you recycle them!

Green Beauty Products London Drugs Blog

Let’s Talk Packaging

Cardboard: Cardboard is a very common form of packaging for cosmetics. You can easily break down the boxes your products came in and place them in the recycling bin.

Plastic: Your empty shampoos, conditioners, cleansers, and moisturizers don’t belong in the trash! These plastic containers can often be recycled alongside your other plastics. Don’t forget to include the lids!

Glass: Rinse your empty bottles and toss them in the recycling bin with your other glass items.

Pumps: Pumps can be tricky as they often contain multiple materials (a metal spring and cap for example). Just remove the metal spring and place the cap back on the bottle before you toss it in the appropriate recycling bin.

We’re Here to Help!

Still feeling a bit overwhelmed with the details? We’ve got good news! London Drugs is happy to accept recyclable packaging for cosmetics and beauty products that we sell, including:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plastic containers
  • Plastic lids and pump sprayers
  • Clear plastic clamshell-style packaging

Recycling Beauty Products the Right Way London Drugs Beauty Blog

Unfortunately, we can’t accept glass, lipstick tubes, or nail polish containers at this time. The recycling industry is still working on how to recycle small items like this. As most of the facilities use automated machines, small items like lipstick tubes are often missed and end up back in the landfill.

We’re working toward a goal of recycling everything we sell one day. Thanks for working with us to get there! We’re here to make it easy for you to feel good about consuming your favourite beauty products conscientiously.

Upcycle This: 5 Cools Crafts to Do on a Cold Day

Upcycler Extraordinaire Denise CorcoranUpcycler and crafter extraordinaire Denise Corcoran (Thrifty By Design) has a passion for turning ‘junk’ into new and funky pieces. From refinishing furniture to repurposing discarded items like wine corks into jewellery, she believes there is no limit to what a bit of time and know-how can create and save from the landfill. Here Denise shares 5 of her favourite upcycled crafts.

Do you ever look in your recycle bin and think you could make crafty magic happen with your recyclables? I do. All the time!

So many items you find in your recycle bin can be repurposed into fun rainy day projects. From mason jars (which you can find at London Drugs!) to cereal boxes to tin cans… there are simple DIYs that turn used objects into treasure. And the bonus for all of us is that you help keep these objects out of the landfill. Here are a few easy upcycled crafts to get you started!

1. Mason Jar Lanterns

Mason jars are super trendy when it comes to upcycling. One easy project is to refashion the mason jar into a lantern. By decoupaging tissue paper on the outside then adding a tea light in the mason jar, you’ve crafted an easy lantern. You can even step it up a notch by taking a Sharpie and adding a face or design to the decoupage.

Step 1: Grab some mason jars of various sizes and ensure they are clean.

Upcycled mason jars


Step 2: Tear up pieces of tissue paper. Either use one colour or try mixing it up with various colours.

Upcycled crafts


Step 3: Add a coat of Mod Podge or liquid white glue to the mason jar.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars


Step 4: Add pieces of tissue paper to the glued area. Then coat the tissue paper with more Mod Podge to smooth out the paper and seal it.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars


Step 5: Continue step 3 and 4 until the mason jar is completely covered with tissue paper. Allow to dry.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars


Step 6: Insert a regular or LED tea light into the mason jar to create a lantern.

Upcycled Crafts with Mason Jars

2. Cereal Box Organizers

One of my favourite go-to items from my recycle bin is cereal boxes. They’re perfect for DIY stationery, art, gift boxes, or gift tags. They’re also perfect for your office to organize your papers, magazines, or mail. It doesn’t take much to turn an empty box into a swanky organizer for your kitchen or office.

Step 1: You can use any size of cereal box to create your DIY office organizer.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes


Step 2: Measure and mark where you want to trim the cereal box.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes


Step 3: Use scissors or an X-acto knife to trim the box.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes


Step 4: Cover the cereal box in old wrapping paper using a glue stick or Mod Podge.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes


Step 5 (optional): Jazz up your organizer with ribbon or funky tape trim to add a bit more pizzazz.

Upcycled Crafts with Cereal Boxes

Step 6: Upcycle more boxes to create a set of organizers.

3. Wine Cork Stamps

There are some super fun DIYs out there when it comes to upcycling wine corks. You can turn wine corks into a boat, fridge magnets, or even repurpose them into jewelry. So many possibilities! On a cold day why not stay in, make wine cork stamps, then use them to decorate handwritten notes or to create your own stationery. Just be careful when creating your stamps since you’ll need an X-Acto knife.

Step 1: Find wine corks with dense cork to use for your stamps. With a pen, outline your stamp design. Also add a line about a 1/4 inch along the wine cork.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks


Step 2: Cut your design out using an X-Acto knife. Cut into your design and then into the line along the side of the wine cork. This will remove the cork to create your stamp.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks


Step 3: Keep cutting until you’ve fully exposed your design.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks


Step 4: Start stamping! You can use an ink pad or acrylic paint to create your design for DIY cards, gift tags, etc.

Upcycled Crafts with Wine Corks

4. Tin Can Shaker

Depending on the size of the tin cans you have on hand, you can refashion them into a pencil holder, a planter, or maybe even a cute robot. I love turning a boring tin can into a musical instrument. All you need is rice and beans for the inside of the can, and a balloon and duct tape for the top. It’s that easy to take your junk and make some funk. One of my top go-to craft materials is duct tape. You can get patterned duct tape that is an easy way to jazz up your shaker.

Step 1: Grab a tin can from your recycle bin. You can use any size for your DIY shaker.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans


Step 2: Fill it with rice, dried beans, or anything else that will be good for making music. You don’t need much — maybe 3-4 tablespoons.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans


Step 3: Cut the opening of your balloon. You want to remove this since you’ll be stretching the balloon over the opening of the tin can.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans


Step 4: Stretch the balloon over the opening of the tin can. Ensure it’s tight and that the balloon stretches down the tin can.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans


Step 5: Cover the tin can with funky duct tape. This ensures the balloon stays in place plus adds some funk to your shaker. Feel free to add other embellishments.

Upcycled Crafts with Tin Cans

5. CD Mosaic Frame

You can take an old CD and make gold with it. CDs can be cute animals, coasters, or even art. You can even upcycle the CD case into a frame for your art! A cool but messy DIY would be to cut up old CDs and create a mosaic. You can dress up an old frame or table using repurposed CDs, adhesive, and craft paint. I use white craft paint to mimic grout around the pieces of CD.

Step 1: Take an old frame or score one from a thrift store that has a flat surface.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs


Step 2: Gather your supplies — a pair of scissors, old CDs, and some adhesive.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs


Step 3: Cut up your old CDs. This can be a bit messy so be prepared. Cut the CDs into a variety of sizes.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs


Step 4: Add glue to the surface of the frame then add your pieces of CD.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs


Step 5: Keep adding pieces until the frame is covered.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs


Step 6: Cover the frame with white acrylic paint. Allow to dry. Rub or scratch the CD pieces to remove the white paint. Then you’re done.

Upcycled Crafts with CDs

Based in North Vancouver, B.C., Denise Corcoran is the author is Raw Crafts: 40 Projects from Hemp, Jute, Burlap and Cork. Sharing her enthusiasm for crafting and upcycling, Denise facilitates ‘Crafternoons’ throughout Vancouver where participants of all ages and skill levels learn how to make things from unorthodox materials. She was a featured panelist at the Craft Council of BC talk called ‘Craft, The Environment & Our Community’. She was also the inaugural BC Champion for the fourth annual Culture Days, a national, nonprofit 3-day event promoting culture throughout Canada. Denise is also a Creative Expert for the Salvation Army Thrift Store, sharing thrifting tips and simple upcycling DIYs. 

Home Recycling Zone Makeover

How to make your recycling area cleaner, greener, and more beautiful!

Recycling things right is a lot easier if your home recycling zone is organized and looking fresh. Here are some ideas (and products) to help you turn your recycling corner from dumping pile to decorator drop zone!

List Your Local Recycling Streams

Regional recycling regulations vary, so look online for the latest on curbside pickup streams for your municipality. This will help you decide how many bins you will need and what sort of space you’ll require. Here are a few links to some of the major municipalities:Check out your regional recycling regulations

Choose a Bin System

A set of stackable containers or matching baskets can help your recycling zone feel like a more designed part of your home.

Stackable containers or matching baskets can help your recycling zone feel like a more designed part of your home

Small – For Apartments & Condos: If all you have is the corner of a closet, the Sterilite Weave 3 Drawer Tower is a tidy solution. Combine with a 6L Good Natured Kitchen Compost Collector.

Recycling solutions for small family living

Medium – Perfect for Small Family Living: Sterilite Stacking Drawers are a great modular system that can stack vertically or side by side. Each has a 26L capacity to hold lots of recyclables. Combine with a 7.1L Sureclose Foodscrap Container.

Recycling solutions for Bigger Homes and Extended Families

Large – For Bigger Homes and Extended Families: If you have dedicated recycling space in a mud room or garage, consider a set of 39L Tall Recyclers by Good Natured. (They are even made from 90% plant-based materials and no nasty chemicals!) Line with a plastic bag for easy emptying. For compost and food scraps, up-size with the Good Natured 8L Tall Compost Collector.

Beautiful recycling zone home solutions

Decorator – Recycle with Style: If your recycling zone is part of your living area, create a clean, neutral-tone statement with NeatFreak storage bins in a NeatFreak Stackable Shelf. Even your compost can dress up with a London Drugs brand compost bin in grey bamboo or stainless steel finish.

Have Fun with LabelsCreate custom labels for your recycling bins

Using your local recycling stream list as a guide, create some custom labels that match your bins. Create and print them on sticker stock from your computer, or make it a family art project. Your recycling, your look!

Set up an Area for Special Recycling

There are a lot of things you can recycle beyond what gets picked up at the curb. Your local London Drugs takes batteries, electronics, small appliances, soft plastics, Styrofoam and more. A Good Natured Curbside Recycler Bin makes it easy to grab on your way out the door.

Set up an area for special recycling

Have a Grand Opening!

Share your new recycling zone with your family or roommates to make sure everyone knows what goes where. Because now your recycling zone ROCKS!! And that’s the REAL Green Deal!

Share your new recycling zone with your family or roommates to make sure everyone knows what goes where

Want a Greener Christmas? Try these Tips for Reducing and Recycling Holiday Waste

The holidays are a magical time, but they can also be a time of great waste; piles of wrapping paper, product packaging, old products, and electronics all end up in landfills around this time of year. We talked to two of our London Drugs experts on holiday waste reduction and recycling to share some strategies on how to keep the season green

What can people keep in mind while they’re shopping to avoid unnecessary holiday waste?

Chris Odgaard, London Drugs Store Manager at Sunnycrest Mall, Gibsons, BC: “Consider the whole life-cycle of the product you’re buying. How long will it last? What will happen to it once it’s no longer needed, wanted, or useful? Can it be reused, repurposed, repaired, or recycled? Also think about gifting services or experiences instead of things.”

Lorne Craig, What’s the Green Deal Manager: “Organize your shopping so that you don’t have to make as many trips, and shop at stores where you can pick up everything you need, all in the one place. Shopping locally is also a green solution. Buying online might seem super-convenient, but depending on your location (and whether you are home to receive the delivery) it can create more emissions and packaging waste than shopping in store. Plus, if you walk, bike, carpool, or take transit to the store, you can help make an even bigger reduction. Oh, and remember to bring your reusable shopping bags, of course!”

How can shopping at London Drugs for the holidays help keep waste out of landfills?

Chris Odgaard: “London Drugs is always working to be a green leader in sustainable business practices. We offer a ‘buy online, pick up in store service’, which means that many hundreds of items are shipped to a store on a single truck, reducing transportation waste. And if you’re shopping for service gifts, London Drugs offers a variety of services such as computer servicing and repair, audio-video home services and setup, and digital photo scanning, which can all be purchased with a London Drugs gift card.

“Many of the products you purchase at London Drugs can be recycled there, including electronics, small appliances, and batteries. With our ‘Bring Back the Pack‘ program, you can return all the unwanted packaging to the store to be responsibly recycled. If you’ve received new electronics or small appliances to replace the old ones, you can bring them back along with the new packaging and get rid of everything at once in a responsible way!”

Do you have any other green tips for holiday shoppers?

Lorne Craig: “If you’re really stuck for a gift idea, think about giving a gift card that will allow the person to choose something that they actually want or need. Also, remember to buy from companies that are doing business better. London Drugs’ ‘What’s the Green Deal?’ blog has product information that highlights companies that are reducing waste, reducing emissions, using organic ingredients, and practicing fair trade.”


Thanks to our experts for the great advice! If you’re looking for more tips on how to reduce your waste around the holidays, or any other time of year, explore our Green Deal page. Happy gifting!


First-ever Halloween Candy Wrapper Return Drive at London Drugs in BC

Bring Your Halloween Candy Wrappers Back to London Drugs

Bring back your Halloween candy wrappers and snack packaging to any London Drugs store in BC! 

London Drugs is delighted to to announce the first-ever Halloween candy wrapper return drive in BC to help keep seasonal snack packaging waste out of the city’s landfills.

Customers can bring their chocolate bar and Halloween candy wrappers as well as potato chip bags and other flexible plastic packaging to any London Drugs location. The items collected will be sent to Merlin Plastics, a post-consumer processing company in Delta, BC, and used for research and development as the company works to develop a commercially viable process for repurposing these common but tough-to-process items.

Halloween candy wrappers that cannot be recycled will be used to produce engineered fuel for commercial operations such as concrete plants.

“We want to help British Columbians celebrate Halloween with a bit less waste by making one simple suggestion: instead of throwing out your candy wrappers and chip bags, bring them to London Drugs.”

~ Maury McCausland, Retail Operations Sustainability Specialist, London Drugs

Other Flexible Plastic Packaging Initiative

Bring flexible plastics, like Halloween candy wrappers, to any BC London Drugs

London Drugs’ Other Flexible Plastic Packaging initiative is part of RecycleBC’s new take-back program. These types of plastics, including Halloween candy wrappers, are among the fastest-growing forms of packaging on the market and one of the largest categories of packaging, particularly for confectionery and snack foods.

According to Stats Canada, over $550 million worth of cookies, confectionery, and snack foods were sold across Canada last October, contributing significant amounts of packaging waste to landfills and the environment. Food wrappers are also a common source of marine litter and were among the top five items found in the Ocean Conservatory’s International Coastal Clean-up last year.

“This is really a big problem; the volume of wrapper waste is significant,” says McCausland. “That’s why we’re making a commitment to help address it – not just at Halloween but year-round.” 

Plastics You Can Bring Back

London Drugs accepts all sorts of items in the Other Flexible Plastic Packaging category including:Flexible plastics return to London Drugs in BC

  • Stand up and zipper lock pouches
  • Crinkly wrappers and bags, including chip bags, bars, and candy wrappers
  • Flexible packaging with plastic seal
  • Woven net and plastic bags
  • Non-food protective packaging

See the complete list of accepted other flexible plastic packaging.

“Last year, with the help of our customers and staff, our stores celebrated a 93% waste diversion rate. This program will help get us one step closer to zero waste,” says McCausland.

Surprising Things You Can Recycle at London Drugs

It’s 2018, and recycling is now, for most of us, an essential part of everyday life. Unfortunately, though, curbside recycling can be quite limited in Canada, and city programs may not accept all recyclable items. This is where London Drugs comes in! The list below includes just seven of the surprising things we recycle at London Drugs. We challenge you: sort through your drawers and cupboards and see how many of these seven unique items you can collect and bring in to us—to keep them from the landfill.

  • Styrofoam – London Drugs is Canada’s only major retailer to offer packaging return and recycling on anything they sell. Seriously. Anything! The Bring Back the Pack program includes Styrofoam (from items bought at London Drugs), which is not accepted as part of most municipal recycling programs.
  • Smoke Alarms – Smashed your alarm one too many times while burning the bacon? Bring it in and we’ll recycle it.
  • Non-Rechargeable (and Rechargeable) Batteries – Alkaline batteries are recyclable too. We have them sent to Inmetco in Pennsylvania, USA, where they use a High Temperature Metals Recovery Process (HTMR) to obtain an overall material recovery rate of 83%. Metals recovered include Iron, Nickel, Manganese, Copper, and Zinc. Ni-CAD, Ni-MH and Ni-Zn. Rechargeable batteries are also processed at Inmetco.
  • Plastic Insurance Folders – Don’t leave expired documents in your car! Shred your old insurance papers and bring the plastic to us. London Drugs also accepts all soft plastic bags (except biodegradable bags).
  • Fluorescent Light Bulbs – Bring in your Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulbs and Fluorescent Light (FL) Tubes up to 4-foot lengths to London Drugs for safe, responsible recycling. Simply wrap old bulbs carefully in a plastic bag or a box and drop them off at our Customer Service Counter.
  • Waffle Makers (And Other Small Appliances) – Need a new small appliance? Bring in your old one at the same time. Any dead small appliance with a plug can be recycled at London Drugs through the Small Appliance recycling program. All electronic products are responsibly disassembled to basic materials right here in Canada. London Drugs works diligently to ensure that recyclables are shipped to responsible recycling facilities.
  • VHS Tapes – London Drugs offers customers drop-off recycling for virtually all recordable media or media storage devices when customers are making similar purchases in our stores. (Maximum 16 items at a time, please)

You can help make a big difference. For more information on London Drugs’ green initiatives, visit greendeal.ca where—along with more info about our recycling program—you can learn about the green products we sell, saving energy in your home, sustainability education events, and more!

A Beginners Guide to Canning and Preserving

Fall is here! But don’t worry, it’s not all rain and cold weather. Fall is a beautiful season of bounty, and you can make the most of that bounty by taking up your new favourite hobby: canning. That beautiful jam you like? You can make it. Dill pickles? You can make those too. Those cans of tomatoes you buy every other week? Yep, you got it! All you need is a bit of equipment and a bit of know-how. London Drugs has got you covered on both counts.

Woman In Kitchen Listing Ingredients In Vegetable Preserves

Canning is really just a way of preserving food. Water bath canning is the easiest way to start: you fill glass jars with the stuff you want to preserve (jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) and boil them in hot water. This kills any bacteria present, removes air from the jar, and seals it to prevent any more bacteria from getting in. Water bath canning only works for high-acid foods like fruit, tomatoes, and pickled things.

If you want to get really fancy and preserve your perfect pumpkin pie filling, you’ll need to upgrade to a pressure canner. But the basic process is to sterilize your jars in boiling water, make your preserves, put those preserves in the jars, put on the lids, and throw them back in boiling water. Easy peasy, right?

So where do you begin? First, you need some equipment:

  • Large stockpot, deep enough to completely cover your jars
  • Canning jars
  • Canning lids (these will come with jars if you buy a new set!)
  • Jar lifter
  • Lid lifter
  • Funnel

We’ve got a complete canning kit that includes the jar lifter, lid lifter, and funnel, as well as 250ml jars, 500ml jars, and even 1L jars for things like pickles and whole tomatoes. If you’re making jam or jelly, you’ll also need pectin.

Once you’ve acquired the equipment, you need to decide what you want to can! In early fall we still have stone fruit like peaches and plums, and lots of tomatoes. Later in the season, root vegetables like carrots and beets can make some excellent pickles. And apples, of course!

Pickled cucumbers, homemade preserved on wooden table

If you’ve got a well stocked grocery store that brings in produce from further afield, you can can small batches with basically any type of fruit. We’ve got recipes for strawberry balsamic jam and sour cherry jelly on the blog from earlier this summer. (What’s the difference between jam and jelly, you ask? Jam is made from crushed fruit while jelly is made from fruit juice! The more you know.)

Next, as a beginner, follow a recipe!

Canning isn’t difficult, but when mistakes are made they can range from something minor like a jam that doesn’t set to something dangerous like food that is unsafe to eat. You may balk at the amount of sugar in some of these recipes, but it’s integral to getting the jelly or jam to set properly, and it helps prevent spoilage.

Boiling time will vary depending on what altitude you’re at. You also can’t reuse the flat part of the two part lid for canning jars; you can reuse the ring, but you need a new lid each time you can. And don’t forget to sterilize your jars before filling them with your preserves!

Bell pepper preserves - London Drugs Blog

There are a ton of great websites you can go to for more information and recipes, including the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Food in Jars, and Punk Domestics. Companies that make canning supplies like Bernardin and Ball are also fantastic resources.

Here are a few of our favourite fall recipes. Go ahead and get canning! You can can!

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