Colgate-Palmolive Co. will share how it makes of its new fully-recyclable toothpaste tube with competitors, a move that comes as the home-goods industry faces mounting pressure from eco-conscious shoppers. The tube, which was made public in June and is set to go into stores in the U.S. in packaging for Colgate’s CL, Tom’s of Maine toothpaste before being rolled out in other brands across the U.S. and Europe, took five years to develop. Colgate is now adapting its factories to manufacture the tube so as to meet its goal of selling only recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025.
“We are encouraging the industry and retailers to move forward on this as quickly as possible. If you stop to think about it, it makes no sense if we have the only recyclable tube out there,” said Ann Tracy, vice president of safety, sustainability and supply chain strategy at Colgate, in an interview.
The tube, recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers, is made of high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, which is a recyclable plastic that Colgate’s engineers were able to make less rigid. Most toothpaste tubes are unrecyclable because they are made from sheets of plastic laminate and a layer of aluminum pressed together in a film.
Competitor Procter & Gamble Co. , the maker of Crest and Oral-B toothpaste, welcomed Colgate’s decision to share its intellectual property, but didn’t say whether it would use the technology. “By working together and creating a steady supply of high quality recycled material, we can unlock its value and create more of a ‘demand-pull,’” said Brent Heist, an engineer who has been with P&G for 26 years, in a statement.
As many as 20 billion toothpaste tubes are made every year, according to Colgate, and as the world’s top toothpaste maker by market share, the company is a major contributor to what ends up in the landfill. Colgate reported in June to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that it had a plastic packaging volume of 287,008 metric tons last year. Plastic can take up to a millennia to decompose.
To read the full story, visit https://www.marketwatch.com/story/colgate-reveals-to-competitors-how-it-makes-completely-recyclable-toothpaste-tube-2019-11-20.