The Environmentally Responsible Way to Dispose of Empty Perfume Bottles by Brianna Marquart, July 08 2009, 209 Comments

I used to think that buying a new scent involved going to a department store in the mall and scouting out the most elaborate bottle. I would wander by all of the glass counters staffed with overdone women waving little cardboard samples at me, thinking, you want how much for a half an ounce? I admit, I'm on the last couple squirts of a Vera Wang fragrance and it made me wonder--what am I supposed to do with this almost pyramid-shaped bottle when I'm through with it? Can I even recycle it? There are a few options when your perfume runs dry.

Remove the cap and atomizer, clean out the bottle thoroughly and toss it in your recycling bin right next to your empties from last weekend. I mean, glass is glass--right? This is the answer that I received from some perfume company employees, but this option is not responsible considering the chemicals put into most commercial perfumes.

If you don't want to waste the water to properly rinse it out or are unsure about what you're releasing into the water supply, bring it to your local Hazardous Waste Collection Site. Maybe wait until you have a few more items, like that old paint you swore you were going to use or the compact fluorescent bulbs that finally gave out, to make the trip worth your while.

Get creative!! Re-use your empty perfume bottles for something imaginative. Maybe the bottle is tall enough to make a pretty bud vase. Perhaps the eccentric butterfly or locket cap it came with could be made into a Christmas ornament or a unique necklace.

Finally, some businesses offer recycling and/or incentive programs. Both Bond No. 9 and Saks in New York will accept any empty perfume bottle and do the recycling leg-work for you. The Body Shop will also accept empty perfume bottles of their product or will happily email you the address where you can ship your empties to for recycling. If you happen to have a favorite department store, talk to a sales associate or email the perfume company directly to see if they'll recycle your empty bottle or perhaps refill it for a discount. Whatever your bouquet may be, make sure you responsibly dispose of all you don't stink.