Want a simple way to stop producing waste? Stop brushing your teeth—that way, you don’t throw all those toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes into the trash. OK, maybe that’s not a very cleanly option, which is why it’s good that Colgate is creating the first-ever recyclable toothpaste tube.
The tube, which has been in the making for five years, is set to hit store shelves by 2020 under the Tom’s of Maine brand, which Colgate-Palmolive owns, and eventually, the company plans to convert all of its tubes to the recyclable kind. Redesigning the toothpaste tube has been a challenge for the industry, as it is conventionally made from multiple layers of plastic laminate with aluminum mixed in to protect the flavor and fluoride. The mixed materials make it impossible to separate and recycle properly, which is why an estimated 20 billion tubes to go landfill every year.
That’s why these new tubes are a big deal. Trials have proven that they can get mixed into the recycling stream, as well as ground up and turned successfully into new plastic bottles. Colgate has also announced that it’s not stopping there. The toothpaste brand is now exploring ways to become a part of TerraCycle’s Loop initiative in which household products come in reusable containers that brands can refill over and over again.