An environmental consulting firm propelling sustainability initiatives.

How to Recycle / Become More Sustainable – Nail Polish

Published by


I have to confess that I buy my nail polish for the name and not necessarily the color. When someone says that they like my nail color, it’s fun to say, “Thanks, it’s called ‘Back to the Fushsia.’” Great job from marketing! However, I found that I rarely finish using the nail polish before it goes bad. While I have tried the tricks of extending its life, as I have been cleaning out during Covid, I know I can do better in the future. This article will provide information on how to recycle and become more sustainable when it comes to nail polish.

nail polish, recycle
Old Nail Polish

Nail polish comes in many types including liquid, gel and powder coats. You can look on the manufacturer website for the safety data sheet (SDS) for your products. Here is an example link. The information on the SDS will provide the ingredients, hazards, and information on disposal. Each type of polish will list the hazardous ingredients and U.S. EPA waste number codes such as D001 for ignitable materials. Often in the disposal section it will say to dispose in accordance with federal, state and local regulations. So how do you dispose of or recycle nail polish?

Disposal & Recycle

If you have unused nail polish for disposal it should not go in the regular municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill trash. Unused nail polish is hazardous. Take it to a household hazardous waste (HHW) collection center for disposal or research the proper location in your community. You can think about it like how you would handle the disposal of unused house paint.

Becoming More Sustainable

The best and most sustainable option for reducing your waste is to use up a product so that there is none. For instance, in my case, I started to buy smaller sizes of the same products. The pictures below show some examples of the smaller size products; a 75% reduction in volume of product. Both reduction and recycling are great ways to become more sustainable. As for me, I am committing to one color – “Hot Pop Pink” for the summer and the entire 3.75 ml!

Nail polish sustainable options
15 ml/0.5 fl oz. verses 3.75 ml/0.125 fl oz.
Comparison of nail polish sizes
Two in one option in middle “Hot Pop Pink” – 3.75 ml/ 0.125 fl oz. of polish and clear coat

We can always be more sustainable when it comes to common household products – even ones as small as nail polish. To tackle these issues on a larger scale, contact us today. FOURSES, INC. helps clients become more sustainable through services such as a sustainability audit, waste reductions, beneficial re-use of waste materials, and sustainable materials.

%d bloggers like this: