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Colgate unveils recyclable toothpaste tubes – and offers tech to rivals

Colgate-Palmolive has revealed the nation’s first recyclable toothpaste tube – the result of five years research – and immediately offered the technology to rival companies to help reduce landfill waste.

Colgate Smile for Good plastic tubes use high-density polyethylene (HDPE), classified as recyclable by the Australasian Recycling Label Program of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). It can be disposed of at kerbside plastic recycling bins.

“Making toothpaste tubes part of the circular economy will help keep plastic productive and eliminate waste,” said Simon Petersen, GM at Colgate-Palmolive South Pacific. 

“Colgate-Palmolive wants all toothpaste tubes to meet the same third-party recycling standards that we’ve achieved, so we are openly sharing our technology with toothpaste competitors as well as manufacturers of all kinds of tubes.”

Colgate Smile for Good tube’s HDPE material is based on the same plastic that companies used to make 2L milk bottles and other plastic containers that are recyclable. Its engineers developed a solution using different grades and thicknesses of HDPE laminated into a tube to make it squeezable since the type of plastic used on milk bottles is too rigid.

Most toothpaste tubes are usually made from sheets of plastic laminate with a thin layer of aluminium. These are difficult to recycle through conventional methods leading to 50 million tubes ending up in landfills annually in Australia.

The new toothpaste adds to the company’s global target to create 100-per-cent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025 and to reach Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets as well. 

“It’s fantastic to see companies striving to phase out difficult to recycle materials, innovating to find recyclable alternatives and sharing those learnings and technology to help transform the wider market,” said Brooke Donnelly, CEO at APCO. 

“This collective, ambitious approach by organisations across the supply chain will be critical for Australia to meet its upcoming waste and recycling deadlines, including the 2025 National Packaging Targets.”

Colgate Smile for Good has two variants such as Smile for Good Protection and Smile for Good Natural White. The range also has Smile for Good Protection mouthwash, Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush and Smile for Good dental floss. It is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate-free, vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free.

The toothpaste brand is also supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

Colgate Smile for Good toothpaste is sold for RRP $8 at Woolworths, Coles, Amazon, Chemist Warehouse and Priceline.

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