Colgate has launched a new line of toothpaste in a fully recyclable tube, a first for toothpaste, as The Guardian reported.
Colgate’s Smile For Good brand, which is only available in Europe right now, has been certified by The Vegan Society and comes in a tube made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is the same plastic used for milk containers, according to The Guardian.
Most types of toothpaste are made with glycerin, a byproduct of animal fat. The Smile For Good line, however, uses plant-sourced glycerin, according to USA Today.
Toothpaste brands also make their tubes out of a combination of several layers of plastics, polymers and resins that cannot be recycled and take more than 500 years to break down, as New Atlas reported. The new tubes, which use HDPE, are easy to recycle, according to USA Today.
Colgate also boasts that its product is 99.7 percent natural. Furthermore, in an industry first, each ingredient is listed and its purpose explained on the recyclable packaging, according to the Daily Mail. For example, the tube explains that silica cleans and polishes while glycerin prevents the paste from drying out, according to the The Guardian.
Yet, the new product has a hefty price tag compared to traditional toothpastes; it costs $6.50 at the British chain Waitrose compared to just over one-dollar for the other toothpaste tubes, as the Daily Mail reported.
To make the tube recyclable, engineers figured out how to mix different grades and thickness levels of the laminate in the tube to maintain the squeezable effect while also meeting recycling standards. Colgate is shooting for 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025 across its product lines, according to the Daily Mail.
It will also share its tube’s technology with its competition so the entire industry can meet third-party recycling requirements, as the Daily Mail reported.
“Colgate wants to make tubes a part of the circular economy by keeping this plastic productive and eliminating waste,” said Noel Wallace, CEO and president of Colgate-Palmolive, as The Guardian reported. “If we can standardize recyclable tubes among all companies, we all win. We can align on these common standards for tubes and still compete with what’s inside them.”
A couple of entrepreneurs in Canada, however, have gone a step farther and created toothpaste tablets to eliminate the tube entirely, according to New Atlas.
“If we want to be sustainable, a fundamental change is required. We’ve developed toothpaste tablets that remove the need for a tube altogether. We want to ensure that our kids and their kids are able to live their lives in a safe, healthy environment,” said Canadian entrepreneurs Mike Medicoff and Damien Vince to to New Atlas.
New Atlas explained how the product called Change Toothpaste works: “[T]he cleaning tablets are designed to be placed between the back teeth, gently bitten down upon, and then brushed with a wet toothbrush. The broken tablet then starts to foam and you can brush your teeth as usual.”
Change Toothpaste is also vegan-friendly, as well as free from fluoride, gluten, dairy, nuts and soy. The entrepreneurs are working on an upgrade that will contain fluoride.
“After trying over a hundred formulations, we created the perfect toothpaste tablet recipe, that give you a clean, fresh brush without any harsh chemicals, and packaged in 100 percent compostable pouches. Just like paste, without the waste!” the pair said to New Atlas.