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How to Recycle Perfume Bottles

Many perfume bottles have pretty designs, making them perfect for reuse. By disassembling and washing your perfume bottles, you can ready them for regular recycling or your favorite crafts. If you’re not the crafty sort, there are even ways to pass them along to collectors and crafters online to give your perfume bottles new life.


EditDisassembling and Washing Perfume Bottles

  1. Take the exterior cap off the perfume bottle and pull off the nozzle. Use your fingers to pull straight up on the nozzle while holding the perfume bottle on a level surface. Set the nozzle aside when it pops off.[1]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 1.jpg
    • Discard the cap and nozzle if you don’t want them for decorative purposes.
    • This step applies for standard spritzer tops. Plug-style perfume tops do not have a nozzle, as you typically dab the perfume on yourself. You can skip right to cleaning the bottle.
  2. Cut off the plastic valve and loosen the metal around the perfume bottle’s neck. Inspect the top of the perfume, and cut away any plastic encasing the metal that connects the top to the bottle with a knife or sharp scissors. Discard the plastic. Gently, use the edge of a knife to go around the base of the exposed metal connector.[2]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 2.jpg
    • Pry up the metal all the way around the top of the bottle until it begins to loosen.
    • Take care not to apply too much pressure against the thin glass neck of the bottle, as this can cause it to chip.
  3. Use needle nose pliers to remove the metal around the neck. Hold your perfume bottle securely with one hand, while using the other to grip the loosened metal with a pair of pliers. Applying gentle pressure, pull the metal straight up until it comes off the perfume bottle.[3]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 3.jpg
    • Take care not to spill any remaining perfume in the bottle as you pull the metal connector off.
    • Discard the metal connector in the trash.
  4. Discard or reserve any remaining perfume. Pour your perfume into another glass vessel if you intend to save it. Screw on the top securely. Pour any perfume you don’t want to save down the sink and rinse the drain with hot water.[4]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 4.jpg
    • You can discard the remaining perfume in the trash if you like, but your garbage will have a strong scent until you take it out.
  5. Rinse the perfume bottle out with hot running water. Turn the sink on so the stream of water is gentle rather than fast. Fill the perfume bottle with hot running water, and then dump it. Repeat the process at least twice.[5]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 5.jpg
    • A strong stream of water may cause splashing and disperse residual scent throughout your bathroom.
  6. Wash the bottle out with warm white vinegar. Heat of white vinegar in a mug in the microwave at 20-second intervals until it is warm but not hot. Over the sink, pour the vinegar into your rinsed perfume bottle until it is ¾ of the way full. Plug the opening to the bottle with your finger, and shake the bottle for 30 seconds.[6]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 6.jpg
    • Let the vinegar-filled bottle sit in the sink for at least an hour to remove some of the scent.
    • After an hour, pour the used vinegar down the drain and rinse the vinegar away with water to dissipate any residual smell.
  7. Wash the bottle in a hot water and dish detergent bath. Fill your sink with hot water deep enough to cover your perfume bottle. While it fills, add a few drops of dish detergent. Submerse the bottle in the soapy bath for 5 minutes.[7]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 7.jpg
    • Use a bottlebrush to clean the interior of the bottle with soap. Kitchen gloves can help if the water feels warm to the touch.
    • Rinse the bottle with clean water.
  8. Dry the bottle outside in bright sunlight. Place the bottle outside or on a sunny ledge indoors to dry. If the bottle isn’t dry in 24 hours, you can speed the process using a canister of compressed air to spray the interior dry.[8]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 8.jpg
    • Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the compressed air canister, including any potential safety precautions.

EditRecycling Perfume Bottles

  1. Find out what types of glass your local recycling accepts. Call your local recycling municipality to ask if they accept perfume bottles for recycling. They can advise if they accept all sorts of glass or only certain kinds.[9]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 9.jpg
    • Note that some local recycling plants do not accept crystal bottles.
  2. Check the bottom of your perfume bottle for a recyclable glass symbol. Look on the bottom of your perfume bottle for a number inside a triangular arrow symbol. 70 is for mixed glass. 71 is for clear glass. 72 is for green glass, and 79 is for gold-backed glass.[10]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 10.jpg
    • Determining if your perfume bottle is recyclable can help you match up your glass to those accepted by your municipality.
  3. Contact the perfume manufacturer to determine the bottle’s material. Look up the customer service line of your perfume’s manufacturer online. Call the phone number and ask a representative if they can give you insight into your bottle’s type of glass, if there’s no recycling symbol.[11]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 11.jpg
    • While rare, the manufacturer may also accept their own bottles back for recycling. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  4. Put your perfume bottle in your recycling bin with your other glass. Follow your municipality’s rules regarding sorting glass from other recyclables. Set your recycling bin out on the curb on recycling day for collection.[12]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 12.jpg
    • If your local recycling plant doesn’t accept glass perfume bottles, try selling or donating your perfume bottles instead.

EditSelling and Donating Perfume Bottles

  1. Pass your bottles on to someone else through a free online marketplace. Create a posting for your perfume bottle on Freecycle or Craigslist. You can give your empty or partially-full perfume bottle away for free to someone locally.[13]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 13.jpg
    • Avoid posting your contact information, such as your phone number or email address on these forums. Both platforms have built-in ways for interested parties to message you without seeing your personal information.
    • Avoid meeting potential recyclers in a secluded place or inviting them into your home. Many local police stations are happy to serve as meeting places for online purchases or exchanges.
  2. List on online auction sites if you have rare perfume bottles. Connect with potential collectors on online auction platforms, such as Ebay. Create a posting with a photo of your item and describe its condition. Ornate and rare perfume bottles can sell for up to $100 USD.[14]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 14.jpg
    • You can make your starting auction price as low as you like to entice potential buyers.
    • Browsing the catalog at the International Perfume Bottle Association can give you an idea of whether or not your perfume bottle is valuable.[15]
  3. Sell to collectors or crafters on Etsy if you have lots of bottles. Create a listing on an online handmade and vintage marketplace, such as Etsy. Buyers comb these sites to repurpose interesting perfume bottles and materials for crafts. Other buyers collect interesting bottles as home décor.[16]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 15.jpg
    • Typically to sell on Etsy, you need to create a virtual shop where potential buyers can browse your wares. This marketplace may make the most sense if you have multiple perfume bottles you want to sell.
  4. Donate full or partially-full perfume bottles to the Salvation Army. Drop off your perfume at a local collection center so someone else can enjoy a nice fragrance at a discount. Note that many resale shops, such as Goodwill, do not accept perfumes or fragrance bottles. The Salvation Army does.[17]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 16.jpg

EditRepurposing Your Perfume Bottles

  1. Use the empty bottle as a bud vase. Fill your cleaned perfume bottle with lukewarm tap water. Put a few slim buds, such as baby breath sprigs, into the bottle as a pretty decorative accent.[18]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 17.jpg
    • Place your perfume-bottle vase on a windowsill, your vanity, or the kitchen table to add some cheer to your home.
  2. Use the bottle to as a homemade perfume container. Create your own custom scent by blending essential oils that appeal to you most. Dilute your oil mix with vodka or another neutral alcohol, and dab it on pulse points behind your ears or on your wrists for a subtle scent.[19]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 18.jpg
    • A little essential oil goes a long way. Typically for perfume you dilute 10-12 drops of essential oil in half as many drops of water and add of alcohol.[20]
    • Shake the homemade perfume before applying it to mix the oil and to dilute the solution. You can cap your bottle with a small cork from a craft shop.
  3. Display the bottles as centerpieces for a wedding or party. Use pretty empty perfume bottles as table décor for a wedding or baby shower. You can mix the old bottles among vases of different sizes filled with flowers for a refined, eclectic look.[21]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 19.jpg
    • Bottles for timeless scents, such as Chanel No. 5, can provide a touch of classic elegance to your event.
  4. Use a partially-full bottle as a glass sachet for your clothes. Place almost-empty perfume bottles in your lingerie drawer to give your clothes a subtle scent. The residual perfume in the bottle is just enough to add a delicate fragrance to your closet.[22]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 20.jpg
    • For this use, it’s best to keep the nozzle on your perfume rather than removing it. Simply pop off the cap of the perfume and place the near-empty bottle of fragrance in your drawer.
  5. Turn your bottle into a suncatcher or ornament. Tie a decorative string around the neck of your perfume bottle in a loop to turn your vessel into a hanging ornament. You can hang it on the Christmas tree or on a hook in your window as a pretty suncatcher.[23]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 21.jpg
    • Bottles with ridges or exterior patterns in the glass refract lots of light and make great suncatchers.
  6. Create an elegant candleholder. Place a slim birthday candle in the open top of your perfume bottle for a small, elegant light. You can use these candles as an alternative to tea lights in a meditation room or on your dining room table for some mealtime ambiance.[24]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 22.jpg
    • Use a candle that fits securely in the open hole of your perfume bottle for the best fit. When the candle is lit, it will drip wax down the bottle.
    • Replace your candle with a new one when it has burned out completely. The layers of wax on the bottle can add a romantic flair to your candleholders.
  7. Use your bottle as a room diffuser. Fill your perfume bottle halfway with aromatic essential oils or room spray. Place a few wooden skewers into the perfume sharp end down. The oils will creep up the skewers and slowly diffuse a pleasing scent into your room.[25]
    Recycle Perfume Bottles Step 23.jpg
    • A powder room is a great spot for an elegant room diffuser.
    • Create your own custom blend of essential oils that suits your taste. You can buy essential oils online or at your local health food store.

EditThings You’ll Need

EditDisassembling and Washing Your Perfume Bottle

  • Sharp scissors or a kitchen knife
  • Needle nose pliers
  • White vinegar
  • Dish detergent
  • A compressed air canister

EditRepurposing Your Perfume Bottle

  • Flowers
  • Decorative string
  • Essential oils
  • Vodka
  • Candles
  • Wooden skewers

EditSources and Citations

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