Don’t Toss That Dried-Up Nail Polish! Here’s How to Safely Dispose of Nail Products!

Don’t Toss That Dried-Up Nail Polish! Here’s How to Safely Dispose of Nail Products!

Don’t Toss That Dried-Up Nail Polish! Here’s How to Safely Dispose of Nail Products!


There comes a day in the life of a nail polish when it’s time to head to the big beauty salon in the "sky". But think twice before you toss it in the garbage or pour it down the drain—nail polish and remover are classified as Household Hazardous Waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which means they can cause a slew of problems if they’re not disposed of properly. (Nail polish or remover waste can contaminate drinking water, pollute rivers and other bodies of water, harm children or pets, and even injure sanitation workers.) So before you chuck out last season’s colors, read on to learn the eco-friendly way to get rid of your old or dried-up hues.

If you’re simply bored with the kolor

You may have a few polishes on hand that you’re just not into anymore, even if they’re perfectly good. Don’t toss them yet! Here are a few ways you can repurpose your most overlooked polishes.

1: Host a polish swap with friends. Invite a few friends over and ask them to each bring two nail polishes that they’re sick of, too. Go around in a circle and have each attendee select the hue he or she likes most, until everyone has two new colors. 

2: Put clear polish to work. Clear polish can be used to patch up holes in tights, seal prescription labels to their bottles, or even turn an eye shadow into a custom nail color!

3: Organize with colors. Color polishes can be a great organizational tool. 

If it’s dried-up and unusable

Like we mentioned earlier, do not toss out your dried-up nail polish with your usual garbage haul or pour it down the sink—nail polish and remover are considered hazardous waste because they’re flammable and contain toxic chemicals. So what to do?

Your best bet is to bring it to your local Household Hazardous Waste facility (Google it to find the one closest to you). For example, here’s a list of HHW facilities in Florida, which are open for one-day collections on various Saturdays. You can also call the National Recycling Hotline at 1-800-CLEANUP (253-2687).

Also! Know before you buy

As of now there are many options for non-toxic nail polishes, however no matter what brand you buy, you need to adhere to EPA’s household hazardous waste disposal policies. However, there are some nail polish brands with fewer chemicals than average. Look for 10-free polishes like Kolors by K—which are devoid of toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor—for a more eco-friendly mani or pedi.


  • Thanks! This is good for us who want to dispose of our polishes and not cause any harm to the environment.

    Stephanie on

  • Thank you so much for providing this information! This is extremely helpful!

    Jessica on

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