Colgate Develops The First Recyclable Toothpaste Tube
The first-ever recyclable toothpaste tube has been created by Colgate-Palmolive. It is scheduled to make its U.S. debut in 2020 under its Tom’s of Maine brand. Then Colgate will start switching over to its recyclable packaging in 2020 in North America and Europe.
The company reports that by 2025, it will have completed the modifications needed to its tube-making equipment at around a dozen of its facilities located across the world.
Colgate will also be sharing the technology involved in its new tube with its competitors. The tube has been under development for around five years and is called Smile for Good. The company believes that the standardization of recyclable tubes by all companies involved is a win for all.
Noel Wallace, president, and CEO of Colgate-Palmolive stated in a press release that, “We want all toothpaste tubes — and eventually all kinds of tubes — to meet the same third-party recycling standards that [ Colgate-Palmolive] achieved.” We can agree on the common standards for toothpaste tubes but still compete on what is contained inside of the tubes.
Toothpaste Tubes are Made Out of a Thin Aluminum Layer and Multiple Kinds of Laminate
Using conventional methods, it is impossible to recycle the material mix. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is used by Colgate to make its recyclable tube. It is the same kind of plastic that is used for producing milk jugs as well as other kinds of recyclable plastic bottles. Colgate initially did not believe this kind of plastic would not have enough flexibility to produce a squeezable tube.
However, the company reports that after different thicknesses and grades of HDPE laminate were combined, engineers at Colgate were able to develop a tube that protects the product, meets recycling standards, and holds up to high-speed production demands while still remaining easy to squeeze.
The tube has also been recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers by showing that the material used in the tube would be reused to produce new plastic bottle and navigate the machines successfully that sort recyclables. Colgate is also seeking to be recognized by Plastic Recyclers Europe.
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