How To Use The Boots Recycling Scheme!

collage style graphic with green and brown paper. left is a page from a notebook and an image with the drop off point and lots of brightly coloured products behind it. on the right the title in 70s style bubble writing 'boots recycling scheme'

Hi pals,

My first blog post from me in a while. It’s something i’ve been working on for a while, whilst I also tried to get to grips with how to use this scheme before telling you about it and how to use it! The Boots site is honestly very overwhelming and confusing and it isn’t very straightforward with how it works, so I’m going to do my best to show you how to use the scheme and make the most of of it! Perfect for the skincare savvy but also for those who aren’t really into skincare.

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post nor an affiliate post with Boots or No. 7 cosmetics.

how does it work?

First, you need a Boots loyalty card because the scheme gives you points to use in-store.

Second, you need to sign up to the scheme through the Boots partner site (which is where it gets annoying and confusing!) so sign up or login on the third-party site. I’d recommend having this set up on your phone too as you will be needing to access the site in-store as well as taking photos of the products you’re recycling. Go through to sign-up process and link your Boots card, then you will be sent through to the user interface (which, I also find confusing and honestly a bit glitchy).

Third, you will take photos of your products so you need to allow access to your phone camera. Photos you take need to be clear, and just of the front of the product with product and brand name (no barcode needed). You then fill in other details: brand name, product type, and the specific packaging (i.e. bottle, tube, etc.) If you have multiples of the same product, they suggest photoing with the others in the back, but I just leave it until I’ve done a drop off.

Fourth, you wait for them to accept or reject the product. This is manually done by a member of staff and is done usually on week days between 8am-5pm ish (I remember reading this somewhere but now can’t locate it). Rejected items can hopefully be more easily recycled in your home recycling or at a recycling point, but there are somethings I’ve had rejected recently I don’t think are considered easily recyclable due to them being black plastic, so I often just drop them off anyway (like lids and caps of shower gel). Empties that have been accepted, you then take them with you on your next visit.

Fifth, bring 5 items to drop off and head to your local participating store (if you are unsure, you can check on the site here) make sure you can log into the Boots Scan2Recycle site, select 5 empties to drop off under the Bank section and then the Tick/accepted section. Click deposit when you have selected 5 items. The next step is where I have a lot of issues… You can either use location services, but it never finds me so I always have to scan the QR code on the bin… but this also isn’t great it takes a lot of faffing to get it to recognise the QR code and scan properly. This is to confirm which shop drop off you are using. Complete the drop off and wait for an email.

Sixth, the email will contain a link that should take you to your points barcode to scan, but you can also go back to the Scan2Recycle site and click Rewards and it should show there. I say to wait and make sure you have this available before going for your shopping. The reward code expires within a couple of days (and does state this on the site) so I usually plan to make a drop off and then go shopping as soon as I have access to the code.

Seventh, you go and pick up at least £10 worth of shopping, at check out you scan Boots card or your Boots App, then show the cashier your recycling code which they will scan, and the 500 points will automatically be added to your Boots account. You can spend the points in store or online.

how do I find out which stores are involved?

This link is helpful: I found out by accident, I’d not seen it advertised anywhere and just noticed the drop off point in my local store one day. Apparently this was launched in 2020 and I’ve only been using it a few months into 2022.

what do they take?

They take a lot of things but especially items that are not easy to recycle so mixed plastics, pump dispensers, droppers, sheet mask packets, empty toothpaste tubes, etc. I’ve only had a handful of my items rejected and they don’t seem to have an option for body wash/shower gel, so I assume most of these are more easily recyclable at home. However, as I stated above, I don’t think black plastic is easily recycled at home so I still bring these plastic items with me to drop off as I’d rather they were properly recycled. There is a bit more on this on the Boots site here if you have any further questions about identifying which items you can recycle. I personally just photo everything and wait to see if they are accepted or rejected.

But this is a great place to go for people who have a lot of minis from travelling, people who use makeup, and for people who may buy larger products that will have a pump dispenser. They don’t take aerosols as far as I’ve seen.

They will also take any products from brands they sell so even if you technically bought it elsewhere, if they sell this item you can recycle it and benefit from the points. There is no explicit information about whether you can recycle own brand items from other stores and I have not tested this out yet.

what do I get from this?

When you deposit 5 empties, and then spend £10, you receive 500 points (equal to £5). £10 would usually get you 40p worth of points so that’s quite a jump/a benefit to do a little recycling. I actually have my phone calculator app out when I’m shopping and stop when I am at £10 or just over to get the most out of this.

£1 is 4 points which is £0.04p / 4 pence. You can make 8 drop offs a month.

There will be some affiliate links at the end of this post with the BookShop with some reading recommendations.

why should I bother?

I’m sure there’s people out there who don’t need the extra points for their future shopping but here’s a few reasons to give this a go anyway!

1 – recycling is good for the environment generally, so it’s good to be able to have an impact (that is, if everything truly is being recycled) for more info on what happens to the products you recycle with Boots, this page on their site is very useful and has a really good little video showing you the process! It seems that they will try to recycle items into more beauty product packaging, but also into these sheets of plastic for building – which seems to be the end result recycling where the products made from this plastic will be long standing items used for years (hopefully).

2 – you can save up your points and use them down the line as a safety net for if you’re ever short on cash but need to replace any of your essentials (think toothpaste, period products or other home basics) it’s a nice bit of padding that once you have it set up, isn’t too much of a hassle to use. I felt like this would be helpful especially during the cost of living crisis we are all going through in the UK right now.

3 – if you don’t need the money off, you could always use it to buy and donate products.A lot of boots stores now also have a donation point for hygiene products, you could drop them off right there in store, or you can take the items down to a local food bank, mutual aid network or shelter to be given out to people in need of these essentials. Or even use it to help buy birthday, Christmas and other holiday presents. PLUS it’s at no extra cost to you.

4 – if you have a Boots card already, you’re halfway there. Might as well go the rest of the way. As I said, once it is set up, it isn’t too much of a hassle from there.

5 – the more of us using the service, we show how popular this idea is and it may spread to more boots locations and may be something other stores will consider doing something like too (anyone else think holland and barrett should do something similar? I have so many dark plastic pill bottles I’d like to get something back for them lol)

anything else I need to know?

Not really! The site does keep track of all your drop offs/deposits made, which I think is pretty cool to look back on. And I think the scheme used to be that you would get 250 reward points so I’m glad it’s doubled since late 2021.

I will list some things that have surprised me that I can recycle with the Boots Scheme: sheet mask packets, old (clean) lube bottles, hand sanitiser bottles (I know we have plenty of those lying around), toothpaste (!), roll on deodorant (but NOT aerosoles), old makeup containers of any kind (including pencil products).

I tend to also bring other products that are hard to recycle generally even if Boots do not accept them, usually black plastics or pump dispensers as I’d rather drop them off to this scheme for free when I’m already going to make a deposit anyway, than let the plastic end up in some kind of landfill. I think it could be a place to expand the service to allow for LIDS ONLY or BLACK PLASTIC ONLY… something like that. Maybe you need to collect or gather more than 5 to get the 500 points, since they would be smaller items? What do you think?

I’d also love to be able to drop off pill blister packages as these aren’t easily recycled and often recycling these requires you to pay for a special bin and specific collection/drop off service… sooooo… Boots??? I have loads of ideas for you luv!


Of course I won’t be leaving you before I give you further reading options. If you want to read more on how you can be more eco-friendly in your day to day, check out my friend Aisling’s blog, she has all these posts on eco-living which will help you year round. She also reviewed the book Turning The Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle, you can read the review on Ash’s blog. I personally recommend the book How To Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum, it was disability inclusive as well as interactive. And lastly, I’ve seen a lot of people have read How to Break Up With Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo. I also wrote this post a while back about why people buy books secondhand if that would be interesting to you as well!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you have any questions or anything specifically you’d like to see from me here. Don’t forget to like the post and follow the blog. Check out my YouTube channel (nearly at 600 subs !!!!), my twitter, IG, and Kofi. Consider becoming a member there and support me making free content.

~ Artie


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