Unilever has announced a number of its brands will introduce recyclable toothpaste tubes to the market in France and India, after several years of development.
The brands included in the sustainable initiative are Signal, Pepsoden, and Closeup, who all plan to convert their global toothpaste portfolio to recyclable tubes by 2025.
Toothpaste tubes have been made from a combination of plastic and aluminium, which gives the packaging strong flexibility, but makes it difficult to recycle.
Instead of aluminium, the new Unilever tubes will use a material made mostly of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is one of the most widely recyclable plastics globally.
It will also be the thinnest plastic material available on the toothpaste market at 220-microns, which will reduce the amount of plastic needed for each tube.
Consumers in France will be able to put the new tubes in their home recycling bin, ready for collection and further recycling.
To encourage wider industry change, Unilever will make the innovation available for other companies to adopt.
Samir Singh, executive vice president, global skin cleansing and oral care, Unilever said, “Plastic pollution is undoubtedly one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. We can see its impact on our planet every day, including the billions of toothpaste tubes dumped into landfills every year. That’s why I’m proud of this latest packaging innovation which will see our entire toothpaste portfolio shift to recyclable tubes by 2025."
"It’s been a long and challenging journey to get to this point, but we hope this transformation will inspire the wider industry to also make the change,” he added.
The Unilever design was been approved by RecyClass, which sets the recyclability standard for Europe, as well as laboratories in Asia and North America.
Meeting these rigorous requirements mean the new tubes can be recycled within standard HDPE recycling streams
During the process, Unilever collaborated with multiple global packaging manufacturers including EPL (formerly Essel Propack), Amcor, Huhtamaki, and Dai Nippon Indonesia (DNPI)
This latest innovation contributes to Unilever’s commitment to ensure that 100% of its plastic packaging is designed to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and its ambition to help collect and process more plastic packaging that it sells.
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