It’s almost summer, which means it’s time to exchange those winter boots for those open-toed sandals. While you embrace the wardrobe exchange, this may also strike a hint of fear into your heart, because those chipped remains of a pedicure on your toes are about to be exposed to the world.
Before you rush to buy a bottle of your new favorite nail color, consider what you’ll do with that polish bottle when it’s empty (or more realistically, when you’re tired of the color).
The U.S. EPA considers nail polish to be household hazardous waste (HHW) due to the toxic chemicals swarming within that bottle of shimmer and shine. This means that tossing the bottle into the trash or recycling bin isn’t an option, and a smart, conscientious person like you wouldn’t dream of pouring it down the drain to contaminate water resources.
Have no fear though, because your friendly household hazardous waste facility is here to save the day. Take your old bottles to your nearest facility and these pros will lay them to rest safely.
Keep in mind that these facilities often only accept waste from residents of the county or city that owns them, so give them a call to confirm that you’re headed to the right place. While you’re at it, gather those cans of old paint, motor oil, and leftover yard chemicals to be dropped off, too.
Enter your ZIP code into our recycling search directory to find your nearby HHW facility.
Check out the following infographic from visual.ly to learn more about why nail polish is a household hazardous waste.
Originally published on February 21, 2015, this article was updated in June 2021.