It’s a Vase! It’s a Centerpiece! Ways to Recycle Old Perfume Bottles


We may have mentioned that traditional perfumes are toxic. (Missed that? Why here it is!) Sometimes it seems like traditional fragrances can contain more hormone-disrupting cancer-causing chemicals than the bottom layer of the local dump. But organizations such as the Environmental Working Group have our backs, keeping us informed on what’s safe and what’s going to give us three eyes. Perfume (properly researched by Skin Deep, experts, and possibly eco aliens from Saturn) is safe for us once more!

So now, what to do with all your old perfume bottles? They are often comprised of delicate cut glass and make great flower or bud vases. This puts them to the front of the line for a myriad of uses. If the openings are large enough, you can use them for containers for small objects like jewelry. You can even use them for kitchen containers – imagine how pretty Tabasco sauce may be inside glass? You can use them to contain homemade room sprays. Better yet, consider refilling the bottles with organic perfumes, purchased or homemade. (Check out a simple recipe for homemade perfume here.)

Perfume bottles can use be used as centerpieces for weddings – check out this creative conglomeration of flowers here. Heck, you can even go onto eBay and resell them to artful crafters. But before you do, check to make sure the worth of your bottle. Some antique perfume bottles can catch a high price.

So how to prep your bottles for reuse? First off, you may have some bottles with old perfume still in them. Your first inclination may be to dump them down the sink, but we strongly discourage this. Anything you dump into the sink is ultimately returning to the water supply. Yes, we consider traditional perfumes THAT toxic – check out the rating Skin Deep gives to a certain “happy” perfume available at a department store near you. This product is linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, allergies, neurotoxicity and more. Want to shower with that down the line? Didn’t think so.

But you can take your perfume to a hazardous waste disposal site. While running to the dump over a few ounces of perfume might seem ridiculous and anti-carbon footprinty, consider dumping the perfume into a container for your yearly or biyearly run to the site. That way you can bring your electronics, batteries and more at the same time.

So now you’ve got your pretty, empty vases. Rinse them with water and vinegar to clean, and allow the bottles to dry completely in the sun. Then use them as mentioned – or just slip them in the blue recycling bins for a new life!

Image: Stepheye

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.