Unilever have recently announced plans earlier this year, to convert their entire global toothpaste portfolio to recyclable tubes by 2025, after four years in development. Several brands will be rising to the challenge, including Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup. The new recyclable tubes will first be introduced in India and France, two of Unilever’s biggest oral care markets, with continued projected growth in the sector for both countries. Within this market, toothpaste takes up a large market share. This makes it an ideal product to start with when transitioning over to more sustainable product lines.
Traditionally most toothpaste tubes are made from a combination of plastic and aluminium, which means it's challenging to recycle. However the new tubes will replace the aluminium with a material known as ‘High-Density Polyethylene’, which is one of the most widely recycled plastics in circulation. This High-Density Polyethylene is also very thin, which will reduce the amount of plastic needed for each tube and thus reducing the amount of plastic used.
Samir Singh, Executive Vice President, Global Skin Cleansing and Oral Care said: “Plastic pollution is undoubtably one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. We can see its impact on our planet every day, including the billions of toothpaste tubes dumped into landfills every year. That’s why I’m proud of this latest packaging innovation which will see our entire toothpaste portfolio shift to recyclable tubes by 2025. It’s been a long and challenging journey to get to this point, but we hope this transformation will inspire the wider industry to also make the change.”
Consumers in France will be able to discard of their used tubes at home by placing them in the recycling bin, primed and ready to be turned into new products. Unilever is working across the globe with global recycling organizations to ensure as many tubes are recycled and collected as possible, helping to drive their company towards a more sustainable future.