Colgate Creates Recyclable Toothpaste Tube; Shares Patent with Competitors

Colgate Recyclable Toothpaste

Colgate says it has created the world’s first recyclable toothpaste tube, and has made the surprising move to share the patent with its competitors, and any organisation that uses tube packaging for their products. 

Colgate-Palmolive says that through the use of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) in its Colgate Smile for Good products, which are categorised as recyclable under the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s Recycling Label Program. 

It is the first toothpaste tube that is recyclable and can be processed by Australian recycling centres, and deploys the same type of recyclable plastic used in milk bottles. 

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The design uses thinner plastic than a milk bottle, however, which allows the tube to be squeezed and formed into new shapes without breaking. This replaces the traditional design of aluminium which is enveloped by sheets of laminated plastic.  

What makes this case even more surprising, though, is the fact that Colgate is sharing the technology with anyone that deploys plastic tube packaging for their products – even their competitors. 

The company says that it is attempting to make all of its packaging either recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 – in line with Australia’s national packaging targets. 

Simon Petersen, Colgate-Palmolive’s South Pacific general manager has said that the company “wants all toothpaste tubes to meet the same third-party recycling standards that we’ve achieved, so we are openly sharing our technology with toothpaste competitors as well as manufacturers of all kinds of tubes.” 

Colgate Creates Recyclable Toothpaste Tube; Shares Patent with Competitors

“Making toothpaste tubes part of the circular economy will help keep plastic productive and eliminate waste,” Petersen added. 

It’s estimated that more than 50 million toothpaste tubes make their way into landfill each year in Australia, meaning that if Colgate’s competitors do end up implementing their own version of the recyclable packaging, tonnes of plastic could be saved from landfill. 

Brooke Donnelly of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation has said that the news should inspire other organisations in other industries to implement similar recyclable packaging initiatives. 

“It’s fantastic to see companies striving to phase out difficult to recycle materials, innovating to find recyclable alternatives and sharing those learnings and technology to help transform the wider market.” 

“This collective, ambitious approach by organisations across the supply chain will be critical for Australia to meet its upcoming waste and recycling deadlines, including the 2025 National Packaging Targets,” Donnelly concluded.  

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