Colgate to make recyclable toothpaste HDPE tubes and will share technology with competitors

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Colgate HDPE toothpaste tube
Colgate has developed a squeezable HDPE tube for its toothpaste. This material is typically used for milk bottles and other containers.

Toothpaste manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive has developed a recyclable and easily squeezable HDPE tube and is sharing its new technology with its competitors.

Engineers from the company have figured out how to combine different grades and thicknesses of HDPE laminate into a tube that meets recycling standards.

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It also protects the toothpaste fully and meets the demands of high speed production while being totally squeezable.

Previously, Colgate tubes were made from a combination of different plastics and a thin layer of aluminium that made them difficult to recycle.

The new technology has already started being rolled out to retailers under its Tom’s of Maine brand in the United States. When this is completed in 2020, the Colgate brand will then start to use the new HDPE tubes in Europe and North America.

Colgate-Palmolive chief executive and president Noel Wallace said: “Colgate wants to make tubes part of the circular economy by keeping this plastic productive and eliminating waste.

“This advancement can make a significant difference in the marketplace today as we test new packaging materials, product formats and refillable models to reduce our use of plastic.

“If we can standardise recyclable tubes among all companies, then we all win. We want all toothpaste tubes – and eventually all kinds of tubes – to meet the same third-party recycling standards that we’ve achieved. We can align on these common standards for tubes and still compete with what’s inside them.”

The company has been recognised as recyclable by the Association of Plastic Recyclers in the United States, and is currently seeking similar recognition from Plastic Recyclers Europe.

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