This is one of the easiest (and most inexpensive) ways to help animals.

By Emily VanSchmus
Updated February 25, 2019

If you wear makeup, you likely know the feeling of finishing off a tube of mascara. When the wand is all but dry and you have to swirl it around to transfer the last remnants to your lashes, it’s time for an upgrade. But rather than tossing the old tube in the trash (or shoving it to the back of your makeup drawer), consider donating your old mascara wands.

Image courtesy of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge

Of all the products to recycle, mascara wands probably aren’t the first thing you think of when filling the recycling bin. But donating them to wildlife refuges can actually help save tiny animals.

In 2017, Savannah Trantham, co-founder of the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina, posted a plea for used makeup wands on her Facebook account. She explained that clean mascara wands are used to remove fly eggs and larva from the fur of animals at the wildlife refuge. The wands are more effective than regular combs or brushes because the bristles are so close together. And, if you’re already a mascara user, this donation will only cost you the price of postage.

Related: Our Editor’s Top Mascara Picks

The Facebook post went viral, and a program called Wands for Wildlife was created. The organization’s website has instructions for how to prepare and send your used wands to their mailing address. Because the ingredients in mascara aren't always animal-friendy, the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge asks that you clean the wands with soap and hot water before sending them in. 

Related: This Mascara Routine Helps You Avoid Raccoon Eyes

This week, the campaign resurfaced again when more than 300,600 people showed their support for the cause, favoriting a viral Tweet that called out to “everyone using mascara”—which, according to a 2018 study conducted by Simmons National Consumer Survey, is about 108 million Americans.

You can also purchase merchandise or print out posters to help raise awareness for the cause in your own community. And if you’re able to spend a few dollars, they also have a wishlist of food and supplies needed at the refuge as well.


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