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Recycle at Boots – 5 Steps To Turn Your Empty Beauty Products Into Money

I never throw away my empty beauty products because I actually turn them into money and you can too.

Recycle at Boots, previously called Boots Scan 2 Recycle, is a recycling scheme for your empty health, beauty, wellness and dental products.

A lot of people seem to think it’s limited to only recycle old makeup but you can actually recycle blister packs, haircare, skincare, body care, toothpaste, baby formula scoops and more.

In this article, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about Recycle at Boots including how it works, what products you can and can’t recycle and the Boots recycling participating stores.

What is Recycle at Boots

Recycle at Boots does exactly what the name says – you can recycle products at Boots.

Lots of beauty, health, wellness and dental products are hard to recycle at home, so Boots created this scheme to let you recycle these empties to give them a new lease of life and you even get rewarded for doing so.

The Boots scheme was previously known as Scan 2 Recycle and you used a website to log your empties, which admittedly, wasn’t the slickest experience.

However in 2024, Boots rebranded ‘Scan 2 Recycle’ to ‘Recycle at Boots’ and launched a new app for uploading your empties which, you’ll be pleased to know, is much easier to use.

boots scan to recycle scheme
You can use Recycle at Boots via the new app

There’s two recycling scheme options on the app:

  1. Health, beauty and wellness products
  2. Medicine and vitamin blister packs

For health, beauty and wellness, you need to recycle a minimum of 5 empties per deposit and you’ll be rewarded with a 500 Boots Advantage Card Points voucher which is worth £5 when you spend £10.

For blister packs, you need to recycle a minimum of 15 empty blister packs per deposit and you will receive a 150 Boots Advantage Card Points voucher which is worth £1.50 when you spend £10.

Don’t worry too much about those details just now, as I’ll go through it with you step by step.

Recycle at Boots is available in hundreds of stores nationwide and there’s an easy way to find out if your local Boots store offers Recycle at Boots, which I’ll show you at the end of this article.

recycle at boots
In this article I’ll show you how to Recycle at Boots

How Recycle at Boots Works

The Recycle at Boots scheme is really easy to use and I’ll take you through it with this step-by-step guide.

I’m going to break this down in detail because if you know me, I like detail and have a tendency to thoroughly explain things. Hey, I just want to make sure you have all the information you need so you can confidently recycle your empties and save money.

So whilst these steps may seem long trust me it’s actually a really simple and quick process, and I just like detail.

1. How To Get The Recycle at Boots App

First up, you need to get the Recycle at Boots app.

  1. Download the free Recycle at Boots app and create your account.
  2. Link your Boots Advantage Card to the app. If you’ve not got one yet, you can join for free and then you’ll collect points every time you shop at Boots – it’s great!
  3. Choose if you’d like to recycle “health, beauty and wellness” products and/or “blister packs”. You can swap between these two schemes at any time by tapping the bottom right icon on the app and selecting your chosen one.
recycle at boots app
To log an empty on the Recycle at Boots app, tap ‘Add a recyclable’

2. How to Recycle Health, Beauty and Wellness Products

Now you’ve got the app, we can log your first lot of empties to get you saving money and the planet. I mentioned earlier there’s two categories, so we’ll start with health, beauty and wellness products.

  1. Gather at least 5 empty recyclables.
  2. Tap ‘Add Recyclables’ on the app homepage and take a photo of the first product.
  3. Use the drop-down menu to label your items with the brand, product and packaging type. Repeat this for each recyclable.
  4. Your submission will be reviewed and verified within 24 hours Monday-Friday, excluding public holidays, although it’s usually much quicker than this.

Pretty easy, isn’t it? Now you know how to log your empties, let’s look at how you deposit the items in a Boots store.

empty mascara tubes
Take a photo of your empty and label it to Recycle at Boots

3. How to Deposit Your Empties In Store

Once your recyclables are approved on the app, it’s time to go to your local store.

  1. Head to your local participating store – you can find your nearest store by scrolling to the end of this article.
  2. Look for the Recycle at Boots box, which is usually in the makeup section. If you can’t find it, just ask one of the Boots’ team members who will be happy to help you.
  3. Scan the QR code on the box, select the items you’re depositing on the app and simply drop them into the box.
boots scan 2 recycle locations
Look for this Recycle at Boots box to scan the QR code and deposit your empties

4. How to Get Your Bonus 500 Points

You’ve deposited your items, now you need to collect your reward voucher.

  1. On the Recycle at Boots app, your voucher will show in the ‘Rewards’ tab. It usually appears instantly. You can find it by tapping the star icon on the menu at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Your voucher will be for 500 Advantage points which you can only unlock when you spend £10 in store. This voucher will be valid for 3 days, and once you activate it you have 30 minutes to use it.
  3. Once you’ve used it, the 500 points will be loaded onto your Advantage Card for future use.
how to recycle your empties at boots
Your deposit may take a couple of minutes to verify then your voucher will be available

But The Voucher Is Only Valid For 3 Days?

When I shared a video about Recycle at Boots on Instagram and TikTok, it went viral with over 3 million views and counting and lots of people in the comments seem to be hung up on the fact the voucher is ‘only’ valid for 3 days. However, I really don’t think this is an issue and I’ll tell you why.

I only use the Boots recycling scheme when I know I’m going to spending at least £10 in store. I save up all of my beauty empties in a bag and keep it in the cupboard, then the day before I’m planning a trip to Boots I log the items on the Recycle at Boots app.

When I head to store, I follow the steps above to deposit those items and my 500 Advantage Points voucher is usually ready straight away in the app.

Now I wouldn’t just deposit the items and then leave the store to return 3 days later because that doesn’t make sense and would be a waste of my time.

I’m in the store because I’d intended to buy something right now, so I pick up the items I want to buy and activate the Boots rewards voucher on the app.

I’ll then have 30 minutes to use the voucher once it’s activated and I scan it at the checkout when I spend £10 or more. My 500 points will then be loaded onto my Advantage Card ready to use on future purchases.

So to me, the 3 day time limit for the rewards voucher isn’t a big deal. It’s actually helpful because it means I’ll use my voucher and not forget about it, and future me will be happy with the £5 worth of points for free.

The voucher should become available on the app instantly in the ‘Rewards’ tab

5. How to Recycle Blister Packs for 150 Points:

Blister packs are the plastic trays that medicines or vitamins come in where you push the tablet through the sealed cover.

You can also recycle empty blister packs with this Boots recycling scheme. The participating stores are much more limited for this scheme although I believe Boots are looking to expand this.

The process is exactly the same as above, but it’s 150 points (worth £1.50) instead of 500 points.

  1. Gather at least 15 empty blister packs.
  2. Tap ‘Add Recyclables’ on the app homepage and take a photo of the first product. Repeat this for each blister pack.
  3. Your submission will be reviewed and verified within 24 hours Monday-Friday, excluding public holidays.
The voucher has been ‘revealed’ on the Recycle at Boots app and is valid for 30 minutes

Products You Can Recycle at Boots

I’ve mentioned that you can recycle your health, beauty, wellness and dental empties at Boots, but what exactly does that include?

The Recycle at Boots scheme is aimed at products that are hard to recycle, meaning you can’t recycle them at home in your council bin. Boots state on their website this is usually because they are:

  • Too small – such as travel minis, sample sizes, mascaras
  • Made of composite materials – such as eyeshadow palettes, lipsticks, compacts
  • Made from non-recyclable materials – such as toothpaste, lotion pumps

The types of products I have recycled include body cream tubes, toothpaste, empty mascara container and more. Here’s a few other examples of what you could recycle at Boots:

  • After sun bottles and pumps
  • Bath sponges and shower puffs
  • Beard oil bottles, dropper, pumps, tubs and tubes
  • Blusher compact, palette, bottle, pumps and sticks
  • Contact lens solution bottle
  • Cotton wool packets
  • Deodorant case, roll on, stick, tub, tube and bottle (non aerosol)
  • Electric toothbrush head (not the full toothbrush) or manual toothbrush
  • Hair gel bottle, pump, tub and tube
  • Sanitary towel packets
  • Shaving foam bottle, pump, tub and tube
  • Toothpaste bottle, pump, tub and tube

This is just a small selection of empty products that can be recycled at Boots to give you an idea. You can search the full list on the Recycle at Boots app the FAQs section.

Recycle Baby Products at Boots

Lots of baby items can be recycled with the Boots scheme such as:

  • Baby food pouches
  • Baby formula lids and scoops
  • Baby formula filter
  • Baby wipes packets
  • Baby lotion bottles, pumps, tubs, tubes and refill pouches
  • Baby oil bottle and pump dispenser
  • Nappy bags packet
  • Nappy packet
scan to recycle boots stores
This is what a completed deposit looks like on the Recycle at Boots app

Products You Cannot Recycle at Boots

The purpose of the scheme is to recycle empties that you can’t easily recycle at home so it excludes widely recycled items.

It’s worth familiarising yourself with these recycling symbols to check what can and can’t be recycled at home. I actually didn’t know what one of these logos meant, so please do take a minute to look over it.

If you’re in doubt, when you upload your empty products on the Recycle at Boots app, there will be a drop-down list and if your item is not on that list then it’s not available for recycling.

Additionally, if the item is unused or not empty it will not qualify for this recycling scheme.

Other items that are not included for Recycle at Boots are:

  • Aerosol cans, body spray, brow and eyelash tints, hair dyes, hair removal cream, hair removal wax, nail polish bottles, nail polish remover, perfume bottles, razor blades, safety razors, disposable razors, razor heads.
  • Any product labeled with hazardous or dangerous materials symbol.
  • Used PPE such as disposable gloves, masks and visors.
  • Electrical items such as electric toothbrushes, straighteners, curlers and hairdryers.
  • Medical devices (electrical and non-electrical), controlled drugs and unused blister packs.

The Boots team manually review all uploads, so if you’ve entered the details incorrectly or the item isn’t available for recycling via the Boots scheme then it will be rejected.

Boots Recycling Participating Stores

The Boots recycling scheme is available at 700 participating Boots stores across the UK and Ireland.

On the Recycle at Boots app, there’s a map feature to easily show which stores are participating:

  1. Open the app and tap your profile icon on the top right corner.
  2. Scroll down to the ‘Help’ section.
  3. Tap ‘Recycling Points’ to open the map.

If you want to check if your local store offers Recycle at Boots without downloading the app, then you can do this on the Boots website:

  1. Go to the Store Locator on Boots website
  2. Enter your post code and select your store
  3. Tap ‘Store Details’
  4. Scroll down to ‘Services’ and click ‘In-Store Services’ and check if ‘Recycle at Boots’ is listed.
boots scan 2 recycle scheme
Recycle at Boots is available at hundreds of participating stores

My Top Tips For Recycling at Boots

I’ve been using this scheme for years, so here’s my top tips I’ve learned along the way.

Save up your empties in a box or bag in the cupboard. It means you have a stash ready and waiting which you can scan the day before you’re heading to Boots to get your rewards voucher.

You can scan your items in advance. I’m not organised enough, so I only scan my items the day before going to store. But you could scan yours every time you add an empty to your bag in the cupboard.

This means if you needed a last minute trip to Boots, you have the empties already approved on the app so you’re good to go ahead and deposit them to get your voucher.

Only use this scheme if you were going to be spending £10 in store anyway. At the end of the day, whilst it’s a great money saving hack, the main purpose of Recycle at Boots is sustainability.

So don’t buy items you don’t need just to get £1.50 or £5 worth of points, as that’s not helping your bank balance or the planet.

If you live with other people, get them onboard too with this scheme too. My husband now adds his empties to the bag in the cupboard so it means I always have products ready to recycle.

Have you been using the Recycle at Boots app? If so, how have you found it and how many items are you recycled?

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Boots Take Old Medicines?

Yes, Boots takes empty medicine and vitamin blister packs via their Recycle at Boots scheme. These need to be used and empty and you’ll be rewarded with 150 Advantage Points for 15 packs.

If your blister packs are not empty but you’d like to recycle them, you can ask the team at the pharmacy counter about safely disposing of them.

What Are The Boots Recycling Participating Stores?

There are over 700 Boots recycling participating stores across the UK and Ireland. I’ve outlined the steps in this article to find your nearest participating store on the Recycle at Boots app or Boots website.

Can I Recycle Blister Packs at Boots?

Yes, you can recycle empty medicine and vitamin blister packs by using the Recycle at Boots scheme. It’s quick and easy to do and you’ll even be rewarded with 150 Advantage Card points for recycling your empty blister packs.

Can I Recycle Empty Mascara Tubes?

Yes, you can recycle empty mascara container with the Recycle at Boots scheme. You can also recycle other makeup items, skincare, haircare, bodycare, blister packs and more.

Claire O

Wednesday 1st of May 2024

This makes it so clear, boots should have a link for this and your video on their site 🥰


Wednesday 1st of May 2024

Love this! I’ve briefly heard about this, but this post has made me feel more confident on understanding what exactly I need to do! Off to scan my empties! 😄


Wednesday 1st of May 2024

Brilliant guide and tips 😁

Jeanette Montgomery

Wednesday 1st of May 2024

Fantastic article thank you Chloe x

Jenna A

Wednesday 1st of May 2024

Brb away to raid my bin - joking I’m excited to start collecting all of our recyclables now and get myself to boots! We go through so much waste with this so this is brilliant, I’ll definitely be doing this, this guide was sooo helpful, especially listing the items we can and can’t recycle, thank you!