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Albéa and Colgate launch the first recyclable toothpaste tube

Albéa has made an innovative toothpaste tube made with HDPE for Colgate-Palmolive. Thanks to the use of this material, this tube is recognized as recyclable. Under development for more than five years, the tube has been launched in the UK under the Colgate Smile for Good brand and will debut under the Tom’s of Maine brand in the U.S. in 2020.

According to a recent Colgate-Palmolive survey, almost two thirds of people in the UK are not aware that toothpaste tubes cannot be recyled [1]. Indeed, most of them 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 impossible to recycle through conventional methods.

Packed in a HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) tube, the Smile for Good toothpaste changes the game. HDPE is a polymer that is widely used for milk containers and other plastic bottles and is massively recycled.

Made by Albéa, this tube is the first to be recognized as recyclable by the APR (Association of Plastic Recyclers) and RecyClass (an initiative that works on improving the recyclability of packaging), which sets recyclability standards for North America and Europe respectively.

According to Colgate-Palmolive, toothpaste alone accounts for an estimated 20 billion tubes annually around the world. To limit the impact of the most widely used forms of plastic packaging that up until now could not be recycled., Colgate has decided to share the technology with competitors.

in the U.K., the Colgate Smile for Good toothpaste is available to purchase from the following retailers, from January: Sainsbury’s, Boots, Superdrug, Wilko, Waitrose, Ocado and Amazon, and from February in Tesco and Morrisons. In the U.S., the tube will debut under the company’s Tom’s of Maine brand in 2020.

Together with the recent launch of the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush and TerraCycle partnership, Smile for Good is a way Colgate is improving the sustainability profile of its products to help achieve its aim of 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.

For Albéa, this is a new step towards the development of more responsible packaging solutions in the beauty and personal care industry. Last November, the packaging supplier had already presented a paper tube project together with L’Oréal.

Vincent Gallon


[1Colgate-Palmolive, The Conscious Consumer survey, July 2019, Base: n= 800 UK respondents


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