Unilever brands begin phase out of non-recyclable toothpaste tubes

Oral care brands Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup will be the first to sport the new sustainable packs

Three of Unilever’s biggest oral care brands are poised to begin their phase out of non-recyclable toothpaste tubes in France and India later this year.

Taking four years to develop the alternatives, Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup will be the first brands to adopt the technology, which will be made from mostly High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a widely recyclable plastic.

Traditional toothpaste tubes are made from a combination of plastic and aluminium with multiple layers, in order to give the product its flexibility.

The cosmetics maker has said it will make the innovation available to other companies as part of its wider plan to reduce waste in the industry.

To tackle this ongoing problem, many conglomerates ahead of Unilever have made the switch to recyclable materials for their oral care brands.

Colgate-Palmolive’s hero oral care brand has rolled out a recyclable alternative in partnership with Albéa.

The Smile for Good toothpaste hit shelves in 2020 and, like Unilever’s, is made with HDPE.

The French packaging firm has also teamed up with healthcare group GSKCH, which owns oral care brands Sensodyne, Aquafresh and Parodontax, to introduce an environmentally-friendly option across its brands.

To develop its technology, Unilever partnered with a host of packaging manufacturers, including EPL, Amcor, Huhtamaki and Dai Nippon Indonesia.

“Plastic pollution is undoubtedly one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time,” said Samir Singh, Executive VP, Global Skin Cleansing and Oral Care.

“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.”

Unilever’s design has been approved by industry standard authority for the EU, Asia and North America RecyClass, meaning the products can be recycled in standard HDPE streams.

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