top of page

Colgate launches recyclable toothpaste tube and will share its tube technology with competitors

Colgate-Palmolive said it will share its tube technology with competitors in a bid to help make recyclable tubes an industry standard

Colgate has become the first toothpaste brand to launch a recyclable tube, in what it claimed yesterday marked a global "category first" that could "transform one of the most widely used forms of plastic packaging".

The Smile for Good toothpaste - which comes in two varieties: whitening and protection - is also one of the first of the first products of its kind to list each ingredient and explain their purpose on the front of the pack, Colgate said.

The vast majority of commercially sold toothpastes come in unrecyclable packaging made from plastic laminate sandwiched around a thin layer of aluminium. As such, the tubes are difficult to recycle with an estimated 20 billion tubes of toothpaste used and discarded every year.

In contrast, Colgate's new Smile for Good tube is made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), the same widely-recycled plastic used to make milk bottles.

The company said its design team had identified a way to create a combination of HDPE laminates that could be 'squeezable', while still meeting recycling standards.

The firm said the resulting toothpaste tube has been recognised by North America's Association of Plastic Recylers and RecyClass, and insisted it can be widely recycled across the UK. 

Colgate also said it would work with stakeholders to "build awareness and acceptance" of its Smile for Good tubes, and share details of its manufacturing process with competitors in a bid to make the recyclable tube the industry standard.

Smile for Good's launch forms part of the company's effort to meet its 2025 goal to ensure all its packaging is 100 per cent recyclable. It follows the release of a bamboo toothbrush last year and a recycling programme with TerraCycle, which was launched in 2018

"Colgate wants to make tubes a part of the circular economy by keeping this plastic productive and eliminating waste," said Colgate-Palmolive CEO Noel Wallance. "If we can standardise recyclable tubes among all companies, we all win. We want all toothpaste tubes - and eventually all kinds of tubes - to meet the same third-party recycling standards that we've achieved.  We can align on these common standards for tubes and still compete with what's inside them."

Smile for Good is set to launch in the UK this month with the product due to be stocked in Sainsbury's, Boots, Superdrug, Wilko, Waitrose, Ocado, and Amazon. It is then expected to be rolled out in Tesco and Morrisons stores next month. The suggested retail price for the new tubes is £4.99.


bottom of page