Colgate innovates Recyclable Tube for Toothpaste Packaging

Toothpaste Packaging

Colgate has launched a ground-breaking new toothpaste called Smile for Good that contains a minimal number of ingredients and, in an industry first, lists each ingredient and clearly explains its purpose on the front of the pack.

The toothpaste is packaged in Colgate’s first-of-its kind recyclable plastic tube.

Almost two thirds of people are not aware that you cannot recycle toothpaste tubes. Most of today’s toothpaste tubes are made from sheets of plastic laminate – usually a combination of different plastics – sandwiched around a thin layer of aluminium. The mix of materials makes it impossible to recycle through conventional methods. Smile for Good changes this, using High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), the plastic used to make milk jugs and other plastic bottles that is already widely recycled.

Having previously thought HDPE was too rigid to create a squeezable toothpaste tube, Colgate engineers figured out how to combine different grades and thicknesses of HDPE laminate into a tube that meets recycling standards, while protecting the product and holding up to the demands of high-speed production, all while remaining comfortably squeezable.

The tube has recently received recognition from APR (The Association of Plastic Recyclers) and RecyClass (an initiative that works on improving recyclability of packaging) which sets recyclability standards for North America and Europe respectively. Colgate has also engaged with packaging and recycling stakeholders to build awareness and acceptance of the “ready-to-recycle” tube.

Building on ongoing efforts to help people make small, sustainable changes for the better, including the launch of the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush and TerraCycle partnership, Smile for Good is a way Colgate is improving the sustainability profile of its products to help achieve its aim of 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.

Toothpaste alone accounts for an estimated 20 billion tubes annually around the world, and so Colgate is sharing its innovative technology with competitors as part of its commitment to transform one of the most widely used forms of plastic packaging that up until now could not be recycled.

Mr. Wallace said the decision to freely share the tube technology aligns with the company’s values and sustainability goals. It also contributes to its ongoing work supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. The Foundation’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

Source: Colgate Palmolive

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