Colgate unveils fully recyclable toothpaste tube

FMCG giant Colgate-Palmolive has revealed a first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube, recognised by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR). —

The Antiplaque & Whitening toothpaste under the company’s Tom’s of Maine brand has been made from the same plastic used to make bottles, and can therefore be recycled in the same way.

Colgate said Tom’s will completely switch to the recyclable tubes in 2020 and by 2025 the FMCG giant will have equipment modifications in place at more than a dozen of its factories to produce the tube.

“Colgate wants to make tubes a part of the circular economy by keeping this plastic productive and eliminating waste. This advancement can make a significant difference in the marketplace today as we test new packaging materials, product formats and refillable models to reduce our use of plastic,” said Noel Wallace, chief executive officer and president of Colgate-Palmolive.

It took more than five years to develop the tube which uses High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), the “No. 2” plastic that is also used to produce milk jugs and other plastic bottles. Colgate engineers found a way to combine different grades and thicknesses of HDPE laminate into a tube to make it recyclable but still squeezable.

Wallace said it’s a win-win situation if all companies can standardize recyclable tubes and urges businesses to meet the same third-party recycling standards Colgate achieved.

Colgate engaged with packaging and recycling stakeholders and end consumers to spread awareness and accept a “ready-to-recycle” tube.

“In a new plastics economy, plastic never becomes waste or pollution. To achieve this vision, we must eliminate all problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovate to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulate all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment,” said Sander Defruyt, New Plastics Economy lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

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