Of the hundreds of thousands of tubes of toothpaste sold in the U.S. each year, most end up in landfills. The tubes, which are usually made of a mix of materials including aluminum, aren’t accepted at typical recycling facilities. Colgate spent the last five years designing a new type of tube that can change that. The company, like many other consumer packaged goods giants, has committed to moving to packaging that’s fully recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025. It recognized the scale of its own challenge. “We feel like with our level of penetration, in over half the households in the world, we have a responsibility to participate in reducing plastic issues around the world,” says Ann Tracy, vice president of safety, global sustainability, and supply chain strategy at Colgate-Palmolive. Colgate is also part of Loop, a group of major brands experimenting with new reusable packaging ; toothpaste, for example, could potentially be replaced with alternatives like chewable tablets that can be sold in a reusable tin rather than plastic. [Photo: Colgate] Finding a new design for a classic toothpaste tube was difficult. Existing tubes are optimized to preserve flavor and key ingredients like fluoride, and that couldn’t change. […]


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