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Colgate-Palmolive Designs Recyclable Toothpaste Tube

By Publications Checkout
Colgate-Palmolive Designs Recyclable Toothpaste Tube

Colgate-Palmolive has announced that it has completed the design of a recyclable toothpaste tube that sets a new standard in the industry.

The new tube was quick to receive recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) last week, the first oral care or personal care tube to earn recognition for recyclability.

The company will roll out the new tube under the Company’s Tom’s of Maine brand in the US in 2020, and then to select global markets under the Colgate brand.

The company said it plans to fully convert to recyclable tubes by 2025, when all of its products will be in 100% recyclable packaging.

Long-Term Solution

Justin Skala, executive vice president and chief growth & strategy officer for Colgate-Palmolive, said that, up until now, “there hasn’t been a way to make toothpaste tubes part of the recycling stream”.


“Once we’ve proven the new tube with consumers, we intend to offer the technology to the makers of plastic tubes for all kinds of products,” Skala said.

“By encouraging others to use this technology, we can have an even bigger impact and increase the long-term market viability of this solution.”

Most toothpaste tubes are made from sheets of plastic laminate, which usually contain a combination of different plastics, sandwiched around a thin layer of aluminium that protects the toothpaste’s flavour and fluoride.

The mix of materials is pressed together into a single film, making it impossible to recycle through conventional methods.

To make a recyclable tube, Colgate chose high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the widely recycled “No. 2” plastic popular for bottle making.


Since HDPE is rigid, it isn’t well suited for ultra-thin laminate sheets and soft, squeezable tubes, however, more than one grade can be used (up to 20 layers).

These layers can be adjusted to allow people to comfortably squeeze out all the toothpaste while protecting the integrity of the product, and meeting the demands of high-speed production.

“Colgate people are excited about this challenge and meeting our goal of 100% recyclable packaging,” said Ann Tracy, vice president global sustainability, EOHS and supply chain strategy.

“We’re committed to using less plastic, and more recycled material, in our packaging.”

Tracy added that the group is helping to strengthen recycling by supporting the Closed Loop Fund and other efforts such as TerraCycle’s Loop initiative for reusable, refillable packaging.

© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.

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