The Only Way to Properly Dispose of Nail Polish, Plus Ideas for Repurposing.
[Earth Day, 2022, by Jessica Timmons]
If you haven’t yet embraced the natural nail protocol, well, first, what are you waiting for? And second, that means you’ll eventually end up with mostly empty nail polish bottles at some point. But don’t toss them straight into the trash or worse, dump the remnants down the drain. There’s really only one way to properly dispose of nail polish. But when it comes to repurposing, you have options.
Let’s all remember — it’s paint.
That ballet slipper pink may look innocent, but nail polish is essentially paint. And paints, whether they’re liquid or dry, are classified as toxic substances, which means they can’t safely go into public landfills. If your go-to has been leaving the top off so the interior can dry out and then tossing, well, you should break that habit. The only way to properly dispose of nail polish is to take your old bottles to a local household hazardous waste facility. And that’s true whether you’re using any of the “Free” polishes or just a plain old bottle of Revlon. While there are new formulas that have swapped some of the really terrible ingredients, they all still fall into the paint category and need to be disposed of responsibly. Really, it’s the conscientious thing to do.
The only alternative is diligently cleaning out that tiny glass bottle with acetone and drying it completely so it can go in the recycle bin. Fair warning — it’s a lot of work, and you’ll go through a lot of paper towels since you can’t use anything you plan to wash. If being eco-friendly is the idea, the household hazardous waste facility is still your best bet.
What about repurposing?
All of the most heartfelt stories that have come from all of you— tales of focus-making, habit-breaking, self esteem-building — have truly touched my heart. Changing our routine acts of self care was my mission from the start, so these personal notes will never stop making me happy and inspired to show up every day for change.
“That’s true whether you’re using any of the
'Free' polishes or just a plain old bottle of Revlon."
But what if you have a drawer full of polishes in colors you can’t believe you ever bought? In that case, a little creativity can go a long way. We’ve rounded up a few clever ideas to get you started:
Gift it. If you’re just over the color, but the polish itself is in good shape, pass it on! Check with friends, neighbors, family, and you’ll very likely find someone who’s happy to take that polish off your hands.
Get organized. A pop of color can be a brilliant organizational hack. Assign a designated color to whatever needs a little order in your life — keys, binder clips, USBs, craft or workshop supplies, you name it — and dab on a little polish for a color-coded shortcut.
Make it versatile. Clear polish in particular can be a workhouse. Use it to keep cut fabric edges from fraying, as a sealant instead of crazy glue, on buttons to keep threads from unraveling, or to keep screws or nail forever in place. Colored polish, meanwhile, can zhoosh up just about anything — picture frames, hair clips or bobby pins, ornaments, even chipped household tiles. If you’re into jewelry making or any kind of crafting, nail polish — and especially that tiny, oh-so-precise brush — should definitely be in your toolkit.
No one should be throwing away old bottles of nail polish. If making it to your nearest household hazardous waste facility isn’t an option, there are literally endless options for using that old nail polish and the Internet is a wonderful resource for inspiration and, in some cases, detailed tutorials. If all else fails, peel off the label, let that paint dry in the bottle, and turn into a cute little bud vase. Just remember not to toss it in the trash.