Until now, toothpaste tubes have been very difficult to recycle because they are made of a mixture of plastic and aluminium that is difficult to separate. However, 20 billion tubes are consumed worldwide every year.
Responsible packaging with a reduced environmental impact
It took 5 years of R&D at Albéa, a cosmetic packaging supplier and partner of Colgate-Palmolive, to make this recyclable tube. Made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a material that is widely recycled and used to make milk bottles, food bottles and shopping bags, among other things, it passed the tests defined by the APR (Association of Plastic Recyclers) and RecyClass (an initiative to improve the recyclability of packaging), two organizations that define recyclability standards in North America and Europe. APR testing ensures that a package is recyclable and compatible with the HDPE bottle recycling stream and can therefore join an established and effective recycling process. “Albéa has been committed to sustainable development for 15 years, as demonstrated by our wide range of responsible packaging," said Gilles Swyngedauw, Head of Sustainable Development, Marketing and Innovation at Albéa. “Today, we are accelerating the development of recyclable packaging and want to contribute to building a circular hygiene-beauty industry”.
Creating the new circular economy of tomorrow
In order to limit the environmental impact of the "traditional" toothpaste tube, Colgate has decided to share its recyclable tube technology with its competitors. “Colgate wants these tubes to be a full part of the economy. If we can make recyclable tubes the standard for all companies, we all win. We want all toothpaste tubes - and ultimately all types of tubes - to meet the same recycling standards that we have achieved. We can all adopt these common standards for tubes while continuing to compete on what's inside”, explained Noel Wallace, CEO and Chairman of Colgate-Palmolive.