Colgate says it will reduce the amount of toothpaste tube waste in the environment by changing its packaging into recyclable materials.
Founded in 1873, Colgate has dominated 34 per cent of the toothpaste market in the US. The first toothpaste was served in a glass jar, then the company switched to an aluminium tube ahead of the disposable plastic tube commonly used today.
Colgate’s plastic tubes contain a thin layer of aluminium that keeps the toothpaste fresh and flavorful and several different types of plastic, but the material is single-use and completely harmful to the environment.
“The tubes were lighter and less expensive than the aluminium ones, and they were less likely to crack,” said Greg Corra, worldwide director of global packaging and sustainability at Colgate-Palmolive, Colgate’s parent company.
“The design was focused on functionality rather than what would happen to the tube at the end of its life.”
According to Colgate, its designers have spent more than five years redesigning the toothpaste tubes so they can be recycled in curbside bins. Toothpaste tubes will be made from HDPE (#2 plastic), which is often used to make detergent bottles, milk bottles or vitamins. This plastic is non-biodegradable but can be easily recycled into new products or packaging.
The cap of the cream tube is still made from polypropylene (PP – #5 plastic). Therefore, customers can dispose of the entire tube or remove the cap and body before placing it in the recycling bin, depending on local regulations.
Colgate will run the sustainable category with four best-selling toothpaste lines: Cavity Protection, Max Fresh Cool, Total Whitening, and Optic White. The brand also designed a new packaging with the words “Recycle Me!” and the recycling symbol as an announcement about the recyclable capacity of the toothpaste tube.
Four product ranges with new packaging will be officially “on shelves” from March this year. Colgate also targets to complete the replacement of all products with recyclable materials by 2023 in the US and 2025 globally.