20 May 2021

Unilever to introduce recyclable toothpaste tubes

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Unilever’s oral care brands including Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup have announced plans to convert their entire global toothpaste portfolio to recyclable tubes by 2025.

Unilever’s oral care brands including Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup have announced plans to convert their entire global toothpaste portfolio to recyclable tubes by 2025.

After four years of development, the recyclable tubes will be available later this year in two of Unilever’s biggest oral care markets: France and India. First launching in France with the company’s leading oral care brand Signal, the new tubes will be rolled out across its biggest range, Integral 8, which represents over a third (35 percent) of Unilever’s toothpaste portfolio in the country.

Traditionally, most toothpaste tubes are made from a combination of plastic and aluminum, which gives the packaging its flexibility but also makes it difficult to recycle. Instead of aluminum, the new tubes will use a material made mostly of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is one of the most widely recyclable plastics globally. It will also be the thinnest plastic material available on the toothpaste market at 220-microns, which will reduce the amount of plastic needed for each tube. To encourage wider industry change, the innovation will be made available for other companies to adopt.

Samir Singh, executive vice president, global skin cleansing and oral care, said, ‘Plastic pollution is undoubtedly 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 is why I am 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 also to make the change.’

The design has been approved by RecyClass, which sets the recyclability standard for Europe and laboratories in Asia and North America. Meeting these rigorous requirements means the new tubes can be recycled within standard HDPE recycling streams.

 

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