Colgate has launched a new toothpaste that is advertised as the first of its kind because it comes in a recyclable tube.
Toothpaste tubes have traditionally been impossible to recycle because they are made of a mixture of plastic and aluminum. Consumers obtain 20 billion packages of toothpaste each year with discarded tubes that contribute to the plastic pollution crisis.
But Colgate’s new Smile for Good brand, which has also been certified by the Vegan Society, comes in a tube made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) that is the same plastic as milk containers.
Colgate said his engineers had discovered a way to convert hard plastic, which is widely recyclable, into a “comfortably tight” tube.
The technology will be shared with its rivals, Colgate-Palmolive said, as part of its commitment to reduce the use of what is one of the most widely used forms of plastic containers that cannot be recycled.
However, green toothpaste, which is on sale at Waitrose and Boots, has a high price. At £ 5 for 75 ml, Smile for Goods costs more than six times more than a normal Colgate tube.
The executive director of Colgate-Palmolive, Noel Wallace, said: “Colgate wants to make the tubes part of the circular economy by keeping this plastic productive and eliminating waste. If we can standardize recyclable tubes among all companies, we all win. We can align with these common standards for tubes and still compete with what’s inside them. “
Colgate has also taken the unusual step of listing toothpaste ingredients in the tube along with a simple explanation of their function. Consumers trying to buy greener products were confused by the role of the various ingredients, the company said. While the role of fluoride is probably well understood, the tube explains that the silica cleans and polishes while the glycerin prevents the paste from drying out.
As concerns grow about the impact of disposable plastic on the environment, manufacturers and retailers have begun to address their substantial footprints. Colgate-Palmolive, which also owns the Palmolive and Sanex brands, has said that the packaging of all its products will be 100% recyclable by 2025.
Last year, Unilever said it would reduce its use of virgin plastic by half by creating greener versions of its household products, a change that could make shampoo refill stations, cardboard deodorants and tablets Toothpaste is the norm in supermarkets.