Fact: Beauty products are notoriously difficult to recycle. Made up of multiple materials and small pieces, the majority of cosmetic items aren’t accepted by traditional recycling streams, ultimately winding up in a landfill. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you have to trash your cosmetic empties. Thirty years ago, Canadian-born beauty brand M•A•C came up with its own way to responsibly recycle its products. Instead of tossing your empties, you can give them a second life with the Back-To-M•A•C program.

One of the first initiatives of its kind, the Back-To-M•A•C recycling program takes back your used-up M•A•C beauty products and transforms them into new goods, operating on a closed-loop model in Canada. That means your empties go on to become new M•A•C compacts without wasting any material. Whatever can’t be recycled ends up being converted into energy, using a unique waste-to-energy technology. The result: an overall reduced environmental impact and a more renewable approach to cosmetic packaging.

First time hearing about the program or need a refresher on how it works? It’s simple. Gather your clean, empty makeup containers and drop them off at a participating store or retail counter. Can’t visit a location? No problem. You can also fill out a form at maccosmetics.ca, get a printable shipping tag, and mail your empties back free of charge.

Through this recycling program, the beauty brand prevents nearly 500,000 kilograms of material from ending up in landfills in North America in an average year, saving 500 tons of energy. In fact, last year in Canada alone, over 80,000 kilograms of containers were processed – that’s the equivalent of over 1.6 million tubes of lipstick. What’s more, M•A•C has been committed to reducing waste and recycling its iconic packaging for shoppers for over 30 years. That’s a lot of product left out of the landfill.

The cherry on top? Besides the reward of recycling itself (well done!), once you turn in six empties, you also score a free lipstick of your choice. So, next time you hit pan on your favourite eyeshadow or run out of your signature tube of lippie (Velvet Teddy, anyone?), make the move to more sustainable choices and take it Back-To-M•A•C.