In an Australian-first, Colgate-Palmolive has launched a recyclable tube for its Colgate toothpaste and is making its packaging technology available to all competitors.
With 50 million toothpaste tubes per annum sent to landfill in Australia, this is a welcome development from Colgate-Palmolive.
The new packaging technology, developed by global team of Colgate engineers, was five years in the making. The high density polyethylene (HDPE) tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as kerbside recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label program run by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.
Perhaps the biggest win for local industry is that market leader Colgate-Palmolive says it will be sharing its tube technology with interested companies and competitors.
Simon Petersen, general manager, Colgate-Palmolive South Pacific, said, “Colgate-Palmolive 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.”
According to Petersen, making toothpaste tubes part of the circular economy will help keep plastic productive and eliminate waste.
“There is a lot of work ahead, but launching Colgate Smile for Good is a major first step.”
Recyclable tube development
Most toothpaste tubes are made from sheets of plastic laminate – usually a combination of different plastics – sandwiched around a thin layer of aluminium. The mix of materials makes it difficult to recycle through conventional methods.
The Colgate Smile for Good tube has changed this by using HDPE. According to the company, having previously thought HDPE was too rigid a material to form a squeezable toothpaste tube, Colgate engineers developed a solution that could combine different grades and thicknesses of HDPE laminate into a tube that meets recycling standards, while still protecting the product and holding up to the demands of high-speed production, while remaining comfortably squeezable.
Small steps make big things happen
The recyclable tube development is another step in Colgate-Palmolive's ongoing effort to help Australians make small, sustainable changes for the better, including the launch of the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush and its TerraCycle partnership.
The company says Colgate Smile for Good is improving the brand’s sustainability profile to help achieve its global target of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025 and Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.
The new Colgate Smile for Good range also contributes to Colgate’s ongoing work supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
The development of the Smile for Good tube technology saw Colgate-Palmolive named on Fast Company World’s most innovative companies list in March 2021.
Colgate Smile for Good toothpaste is now available for purchase across all major retailers in Australia.
The toothpaste is available in two variants: Smile for Good Protection and Smile for Good Natural White. The range also includes Smile for Good Protection mouthwash, Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush, and Smile for Good dental floss.