Nail polish is a tricky thing – and we’re not talking about a clean paint job on your fingers and toes.
Recently, an Earth911 reader, dubbed “Puzzled in Phoenix,” submitted a video question asking our editors what to do with her dried out nail polish.
The first thing to know is that the U.S. EPA considers nail polish to be household hazardous waste (HHW). This is because, among other attributes, it’s flammable and contains toxic chemicals. Whether or not your polish is dried out, you can’t toss your bottles into the recycling or trash bins. And don’t even try pouring it down the drain.
So what’s a stylish gal to do? Whether your polish is dried or still in liquid form, you can take it to you local HHW facility where the pros will make sure it’s safely disposed.
Make sure to call ahead as you typically have to be a resident of the county or city who runs it, and it may have limited operating hours. Don’t forget to bring your old paint, motor oil, cleaners and the like as well: According to the EPA, the average person creates 4 pounds of HHW every year.
If there isn’t an HHW facility nearby, there’s a mail-back program you can utilize instead. Just make sure to check out the details before you send in your stuff.
If you’re tired of your polish and it’s still useable, you can always swap with a friend or find other ways to use it around the house. Clear coat works great to seal items around your house, like preventing steel cans in your shower from rusting (just paint the bottom!) or sealing a label on your prescription bottle so it doesn’t smudge. You can use colors to mark and organize items in a drawer, label plants in your garden, and the like.