First-of-its-kind toothpaste tube coming to Australia

Image credit: Colgate

Colgate-Palmolive has announced the launch of its new toothpaste – Colgate Smile for Good – in Australia, featuring a recyclable plastic tube and 99.7 per cent natural ingredients.

The tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label Program, a packaging recyclability program run by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). It is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and can be placed in kerbside plastic recycling bins.

After five years in the making, Colgate’s recyclable tube has hit shelves across Australia. With the aim to encourage all toothpaste tubes on the market to become recyclable, Colgate is openly sharing its tube technology with interested companies and competitors.

Colgate-Palmolive South Pacific general manager Simon Petersen, said “The Colgate brand is in more homes than any other, so we can and we will create a healthier, more sustainable future for all with this significant packaging development.

“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,” he 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.”

Most of today’s 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. As a result, some 50 million tubes go into landfill annually in Australia, which is the equivalent to stretching twice across Australia.

Colgate Smile for Good changes this by using high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the same plastic used to make 2L milk bottles and other plastic containers that are already widely recycled.

Having previously thought HDPE was too rigid to create a squeezable toothpaste tube, Colgate engineers developed an innovative solution to 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.

“A huge congratulations to Colgate-Palmolive for bringing this first of its kind recyclable packaging to the market,” said APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly.

“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.”

Nearly 70 per cent of consumers are concerned by the impact products have on the planet and their health. By containing a minimal amount of ingredients that are of 99.7% natural origin and clearly explaining the purpose of each ingredient in simple language on the front of its recyclable packaging, Smile for Good allows Aussies to make an informed decision on their choice of toothpaste.

The formula is responsibly made and is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)-free, vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.

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