What Should I Do with Expired Deodorant?

Millennial Caucasian girl using roller deodorant after shower near mirror at bathroom

You’ve probably at some point found a container of deodorant in the back of your drawer, and you don’t know how long it has been there. You may not know what you should do with it.

To dispose of expired stick deodorant, throw the product in the trash and recycle the plastic container. To dispose of expired spray deodorant, take the can to a recycling facility. Some cities allow residents to put aerosol cans in curbside recycling, but others don’t.

Expired deodorants should be disposed of properly, and it is important that you know how to do that.

How Do You Dispose of Stick Deodorant?

There are a lot of types of deodorant that you physically rub beneath your armpits: roll-on deodorant, gel deodorant, etc. However, for our purposes, I am going to refer to all these types as stick deodorants. These types are all generally disposed of in the same way because they come in similarly made plastic containers.

Most stick deodorant containers are made of plastics that are typically recyclable. The problem is that many deodorant containers are not made of one type of plastic; the individual pieces, like the cap, the body, and the wheel at the bottom may be made of different types of plastic. This means that they can’t be recycled in one piece. Some containers of deodorant will come with a resin identification code that you can use to find out what plastics are used, but not all the time.

If there is no resin identification code on the package, you will need to contact the company that makes the brand of deodorant. They should be able to tell you what types of plastic are used to make the container. Once you have figured that out, call your local recycling center to find out which types of plastic they accept. You will probably need to take the container apart to recycle some or all of it properly. You also need to make sure that you empty all the deodorant from the container and throw it away. Recyclers will not accept the plastic if there is still a product inside.

If you can’t take the container apart or the plastic is not recyclable in your area, you will have to pursue other options. TerraCycle is a company that will accept materials that can’t be recycled elsewhere. It may make sense to gather containers from a few people to send to be recycled. There are other companies that will also take unrecyclable materials.

If you are still concerned, try buying a deodorant that has a container made from the plastics that are recyclable in your area. You can also buy a brand that has less packaging. You can even make your own deodorant from home.

This may all seem like a hassle and a lot more work than it is worth. You can just throw a container of deodorant in the garbage and no one will stop you. However, making sure that the deodorant is recyclable in your area will help the environment, even if it is only in a small way.

How Do You Dispose of Spray Deodorant?

Beautiful girl in bath towel is applying deodorant while standing in bathroom after having a shower

While stick deodorants are difficult to dispose of, spray deodorants are a little less complicated. Spray deodorants are made from aerosol cans, which are considered hazardous materials. Aerosol cans can explode if punctured or crushed improperly, so they can’t just be thrown in the trash can. Just throwing an aerosol can away is dangerous.

Some areas allow residents to put aerosol cans in municipal curbside recycling bins, but not every area will allow you to do that. Call your local recycling center to ask if this is allowed. If not, you will probably have to take the cans directly to a recycling center. Not every recycling center has a place for you to recycle aerosol cans, so make sure you know if your recycling center accepts them before you get there.

Many recycling centers will not accept cans with products still inside, so you may need to empty the can before recycling it. Do not puncture the container to remove the product, but instead empty it out by spraying it.

You should remove the plastic cap from the deodorant and recycle that with plastics. It is a different material that requires a different kind of recycling. Some recycling centers will allow you to recycle aerosol cans with other metal cans, but others will require them to be separate. Verify where you should be putting the aerosol can once you arrive at the recycling center.

To find a recycling center near you, there are websites that you can use to locate one. You just need to enter your zip code and find a location that works in your area.

Unlike stick deodorant, you don’t need to take the container apart or research what materials it is made out of. Aerosol cans come with their own set of issues regarding the environment, but if you want to dispose of your deodorant properly without having to go through all that work, you may want to consider buying spray deodorant.

Can You Use Expired Deodorant?

Deodorant often doesn’t come with an expiration date. The FDA doesn’t require an expiration date to be included because deodorants are considered a cosmetic. However, it’s probably best to get rid of deodorant after about three years at the latest, though many companies recommend getting rid of it after one year.

After three years, the deodorant is going to start losing its fragrance and effectiveness. This will happen to natural deodorants even faster. Expired deodorants also have the potential to cause skin irritation and rashes, especially on sensitive skin. You are safe to use expired deodorants for a while, but you should replace it if you are concerned. If you are using the deodorant every day and not keeping it sitting in a drawer for a few years, you should be able to finish the stick or bottle before the expiration date, and then you don’t have to worry about it.

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