Tom’s of Maine introduces recyclable toothpaste tube ahead of schedule

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

photo courtesy of Tom's of Maine
photo courtesy of Tom's of Maine

Related tags Recyclable materials Recyclable packaging Plastic Toothpaste

This June, the Colgate brand announced plans to launch its innovative new oral care packaging in 2020. Yet late last week, the Tom’s of Maine fully recyclable toothpaste tubes hit the market.

Tom’s of Maine used National Recycling Day (November 15th) as a platform to introduce and market its new recyclable toothpaste tube.  “We're thrilled to offer a first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube that's been recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers, which sets the standard for North America,” ​says Esi Seng, the brand’s general manager, in a press release about the new tube.

“There is no oral care or personal care tube on the market with this APR recognition,” ​notes  Seng, adding that, “We're already hard at work engaging with The Recycling Partnership and their network to communicate with recycling centers and win their acceptance of our recyclable tube. We're proud to be blazing a trail for other toothpaste brands to follow.”

Mixed material packaging is rarely easy to recycle

The familiar toothpaste tubes on the market today are made of a combination of plastic and aluminum layers that as a unit are not readily recyclable.

What Tom’s of Maine has created is a tube and cap made of #2 plastic that can be recycled in select municipalities in the US. And, for consumers in areas where such service is not available ‘curbside’, the brand is teaming up with TerraCycle to collect empty tubes for recycling.

“The #2 plastic continues to have a strong recycling stream and is the same material used in most laundry detergent bottles,” ​explains the brand’s media release. “The new Tom's of Maine recyclable tube is designed to be ‘circular’, so that the material can be re-processed into new products and packaging.”

Sustainability matters to personal care brands and to consumers

"When it comes to recycling, shoppers interested in natural products are also more committed, active participants in working to keep waste out of landfills,” ​observes Julie Sprague, stewardship manager at Tom's of Maine.

And consumers loyal to or intrigued by the Tom’s of Maine brand are commonly natural product shoppers; which is likely why Colgate chose to develop and launch the new recyclable toothpaste tube via Tom’s. “Taking care of the planet is a goal we all share,” ​says Sprague, “and this exciting launch is a new way we can work together in this ongoing effort.”

And that “we all” may very well extend beyond the Tom’s of Maine brand as well as beyond the larger Colgate company. This summer when the prospective new packaging was making headlines here on Cosmetics Design, Justin Skala, then executive vice president and chief growth and strategy officer for Colgate-Palmolive, remarked, “Once we’ve proven the new tube with consumers, we intend to offer the technology to the makers of plastic tubes for all kinds of products​. By encouraging others to use this technology,” ​Skala saw an opportunity for the company to have “an even bigger impact and increase the long-term market viability of this solution.”



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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