Hallelujah! Colgate Just Came Out With A Recyclable Toothpaste Tube

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor

Emma is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."

Image by Studio Firma / Stocksy

Your toothpaste tube is in for a much-deserved makeover. After five years of development, Colgate has announced a new one that can be recycled curbside.

If you're wondering why tubes weren't already recyclable, it turns out that making them more earth-friendly is harder than you might expect. According to an interview with the Association of Plastic Recyclers in Plastics in Packaging, tubes are one of the last remaining forms of plastics packaging we use every day that still can't be recycled. (Here's some other stuff you might be recycling wrong.)

Since the collapsible metal tubes of the olden days went out of style, companies have been making theirs out of a combination of plastics that are sandwiched between an aluminum layer to preserve the paste inside. This mixing of materials means that the tubes can't be broken down in a traditional recycling facility. In search of a nimble, recyclable plastic material, Colgate landed on a combination of different types of high-density polyethylene (HDPE)—the stuff you'll find on milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles.

The new tube shouldn't feel much different from your current one, and it will be available worldwide by 2025. Rollout will begin next year with Colgate's natural toothpaste brand, Tom's of Maine. Colgate—which is sold in over 200 countries and used in more than half of the households around the world by some estimates—has also partnered with the innovative new Loop program to pilot ways that their toothpaste vessels can eventually be reused.

The brand eventually plans to open-source their tube design so other companies can follow their lead so, hopefully, some of your other balms, creams, and pastes are in for an upgrade too. Because in an age when we have to start proactively healing the planet—not just harming it less—sending billions of empty tubes to the landfill every year really isn't an option anymore.

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