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Can You Recycle Plastic Sunscreen Bottles?

row of empty plastic cups and bottles including a plastic sunscreen bottle at the beach

8 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year and over 40% of plastic comes from product packaging.

Technically some plastic sunscreen bottles can be recycled. But is that the best way to deal with plastic waste? We think not, that's why our sunscreen is plastic free

Very few plastic sunscreen bottles can be recycled. Some plastic sunscreen bottles are grade 4 (the grade is indicated inside the recycling symbol (triangle) on the item) which can be recycled if cleaned properly which can be very difficult with sunscreen as it's almost impossible to squeeze the last of the sunscreen out.

A pile of plastic sunscreen bottle lids on the beach

Plastic sunscreen lids are rarely recycled

Most sorting machines don't recognise plastic lids as recyclable items so they get sorted into landfill. From landfill they can make their way into water streams and out into the ocean where they end up as plastic pollution, eventually breaking down into microplastics. Microplastics have been detected in marine organisms from plankton to whales, in commercial seafood, and even in drinking water. 

“Most contamination is from people who are trying to do the right thing” -  Waste Management Institute chief executive Paul Evans. 

What you can do to avoid contaminating recycling? councils have different recycling rules so it's best to check what you can and can't recycle. See what your council can do to help you.

Why our sunscreen is plastic free

Our plastic free sunscreen is here to help you ditch plastic products! Our aluminium tins are infinitely recyclable - better yet, you can repurpose them into all kinds of things. Collect your coins, hair ties, or use it to keep your headphones safe. You can even turn the tin into a mini plant pot for a succulent. Watch this cool video on how to repurpose your empty sunscreen tin here.


Aluminium Tin of Seasick Sunscreen in a cardboard envelope without plastic


All orders placed from our online store are shipped plastic-free in a FSC certified, recyclable cardboard mailer. What is FSC? Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. FSC is the only trustable guarantee used by Seasick Sunscreen on our products to inform our customers about the sustainable sourcing of our paper/cardboard-based packaging.

Learn more:

blue recycling symbol with leaves and plastic free banner on dark blue background

Plastic Free July Eco Tips and Why Our Sunscreen is Plastic Free

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