Can You Recycle Nail Polish Bottles? (And Are They Biodegradable?)

Speak about fashion, and your mind goes straight to getting your nail fixed and polished. This is far more than a coincidence, but how it is supposed to be. Polishing your nails is one of the best fashion styles you can adopt in the 21st century. For many reasons, it makes you look elegant and presentable at all times.

On the contrary, if you go about carrying your nails unpolished, you may feel incomplete about your fashion style. And this very reason is why nail polishing has been a great thing. Many people have even made a profession out of nail polishing.

While this is good because it advances the presentation and fashion style of people, many areas lack consideration. One of these areas that urgently need consideration is the environmental impact of this nail polish. While this could raise many issues, what we need to look out for is the packaging these nail polish come in.

In all cases, nail polish is thick liquid material with the ability to dry out easily. This means that they need to be stored in an airtight container to keep them in the right state whenever they are going to be used. Because of this, nail polishes are stored in bottles to preserve them. These bottles are what we will consider in this post.

Given the constant use of nail polish, there is a potential risk posed to the environment by the bottles used to store them. This is why this post will consider whether you can recycle nail polish bottles and whether they are biodegradable. We will also see if nail polish bottles are bad for the environment and whether you can throw nail polish down the drain. Lastly, we will consider if you can throw nail polish in the garbage and dispose of nail polish bottles properly.

No doubt, there’s a lot to gain from this post. Why not sit back and follow through.

Are Nail Polish Bottles Recyclable?

Using nail polish is all fun and great until you begin to consider what exactly would be the effect of the storage bottle on the environment. Without a doubt, this question is deserving of an urgent answer. This is because, given the rate at which nail polish stored in a bottle is used, there’s a need for a sustainable means of disposal.

The answer to the question “are nail polish bottles recyclable” is in two folds. While the first fold says it can be recycled, the second fold disagrees and says it can not. Like always, we will consider both folds and see the argument advanced for each one.

Yes, It Can Be Recycled

On this, the argument being advanced tilts towards placing reliance on the kind of material in question. It is no longer news that bottles can be recycled. Though they go through a lot of processes and may be difficult, the fact remains that they can still be recycled.

In this light, since we are considering bottles used to store nail polish, they argue that nothing is preventing it from being recycled. Once the content has been exhausted and rinsed to remove the extra nail polish content, there should be nothing preventing the bottle from being recycled.

This way, it seems there is less concern paid to the content. What is of much importance is that the bottle is a recyclable material, and in any case that there is still a problem with the content, it can be removed. This is the premise upon which the argument that nails polish bottle can be recycled is built.

No, They Cannot Be Recycled

Here, unlike the first fold that focuses on the material used to store the nail polish, the focus here is on the materials used in making the nail polish. Though what is of concern is whether you can recycle your nail polish bottle, this fold argues that you can’t arrive at a good answer without considering the materials in it. It says that the material in it, capable of contaminating the bottle, is of greater importance.

It argues that left alone, the bottles can be recycled, but when used to store nail polish, there’s a radical change that occurs. This, in general, is what would determine whether or not one can recycle a nail polish bottle.

In this light, this fold considers that nail polish is made with some hazardous materials that can contaminate the bottle when the polish is stored in it. Aside from this, it also considers the usual practice of people using nail polish. It considers that, often, the nail polish is not exhausted before the bottle is thrown away. In some cases, the bottle is only thrown away because the nail polish has dried up in the bottle.

In any of the above cases, it is unsafe to recycle a nail polish bottle where the excess nail polish has not been totally removed. Placing the bottles like that in the recycling bin will only create more problems for recycling stations, as they would be concerned about sorting them first. Aside from this, the bottle and the remaining nail polish can even contaminate the other recyclable, and make them unfit for recycling.

These reasons and many more are why many recycling stations have refused to recycle the nail polish bottle.

In the end, it seems better to say that nail polish bottles can be recycled if you can guarantee that the content in it has not contaminated the bottle and will not contaminate other recyclable materials. Anything short of this would mean that you cannot recycle nail polish bottles.

Are Nail Polish Bottles Biodegradable?

Generally speaking, anything can biodegrade. What makes the difference is the time each material takes before it biodegrades. For materials like nail polish bottles, it takes extremely long years before they biodegrade. They are in the category of glass and may take up to a million years before they biodegrade. This means that the bottle of that nail polish you are currently wearing would outlive you and up to ten generations after you.

This, on its own, is bad, but if you consider the dangers that non-biodegradability of nail polish bottles pose to the environment, you will marvel. In the next segment, we would talk about some of these dangers to the environment. So, keep close and follow through.

Are Nail Polish Bottles Bad For The Environment?

Here is a question that many have yearned to get answers to over the years. But for one reason or the other, the information on it has been very scarce. Today, however, you will get insight into whether nail polish bottles are bad for the environment or not.

First, because many recycling stations don’t take nail polish bottles for recycling and they end in the landfill, we can say that they are bad for the environment. This way, they are contributing to land pollution in our environment.

Aside from this, nail polish bottles take extremely long years before they biodegrade. On average, it takes about one million years for your nail polish bottle to biodegrade. This means that your nail polish bottle would still be lurking around on the landfill long after you are gone. This condition poses a lot of challenges for the environment. For instance, when deposited in the landfill, they could get washed off by flood into the ocean or sea. There, they can contribute to water pollution and may be capable of harming the marine environment.

Where they remain in the landfill, they can also pose a challenge to the environment. Recall that we pointed out earlier that many nail polish users don’t allow the nail polish in the bottle to get exhausted before they dispose of it. Sometimes, it might be because the nail polish has dried in the bottle and is no longer capable of use.

In any case, where they get to the landfill, the bottle’s remaining content could spill or leach to the environment. If this happens, it could contaminate the groundwater and cause some environmental discomfort. Also, it can render the soil infertile, thereby stunting or slowing down plants’ growth.

These reasons and many more are why we conclude that nail polish bottles may be bad for the environment.

Should You Throw Nail Polish Down The Drain?

Throwing anything liquid down the drain has been the habit of many people in America. While this might look like the easy way, it is not advisable. You can’t just pour anything liquid down the drain. Though you might be able to get rid of them, which is what you want to do, there are, however, many consequences for that.

With regards to nail polish, you shouldn’t throw it down the drain. It contains some hazardous materials and chemicals that might leach into the groundwater and contaminate it. Where this happens, it isn’t good for the environment, especially the ocean and sea, and the living organisms there.

Can You Throw Nail Polish Bottle In The Garbage?

Asking this question might seem unnecessary to some people who already believed that you have to throw everything you don’t need in the garbage. While this is not true in all cases, you can always throw the nail polish bottle in the garbage.

The reason is that putting them in the recycling bin will get them nowhere. Close to being recycled, they can even contaminate other recyclable materials. For this reason and many others, it is better to place the bottles in the garbage for proper disposal in the landfill.

Nonetheless, while doing this, you have an obligation to properly dispose of the nail polish bottles to ensure that you don’t cause an additional problem to the environment. In the next segment, we talk about you can properly dispose of nail polish bottles.

How Do You Dispose Of Nail Polish Bottles?

Knowing how to dispose of nail polish bottles is as important as attempting to dispose of the bottles at all. The reason is that if you don’t dispose of them properly, they will end up causing another environmental problem.

So, how do you go about this?

The first thing to do when trying to dispose of your nail polish bottle is empty the bottle. Pour the remaining content and allow the bottle to dry. This won’t take time to occur. Once dried, you can put everything in a paper bag before placing them in the trash can or garbage. Doing this will ensure that you are properly disposing of it and simultaneously saving the environment from a potential hazard.


Nail polish bottles are important if you are to keep the nail polish intact. But then, they are non-recyclable and take extremely long years before they decompose. This means that until there is more sustainable storage for nail polish, we should be conscious of how we use them. This way, we are sure that we are not harming the environment.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.