New Toothpaste Tubes for Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble will start converting Crest, Oral-B and Blend-a-med toothpaste tubes to recyclable HDPE in January 2021. The changeover covers the markets in the United States and Europe and is expected to be completed by 2025.

Toothpaste to be packaged in recyclable tubes: This is the goal of a project that consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G) plans to complete in both the USA and Europe by 2025. The introduction of tubes made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) will enable millions of households to dispose of toothpaste tubes via existing recycling streams. The conversion of the Crest and Oral-B and Blend-a-med brands will start in January 2021.

P&G in discussions with tube suppliers

The multi-material construction of many toothpaste tubes has been a challenge for recycling facilities around the world. To solve this problem, P&G has chosen HDPE tubes. In December, P&G announced that it is in discussions with several HDPE tube suppliers and has already reached an agreement with Albéa. P&G will use their second-generation Greenleaf tube technology. The tubes are certified by the North American Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) in the USA and by RecyClass and SUEZ.circpack in Europe and can be recycled within the existing HDPE bottles recycling stream.

RecyClass certifies recyclability

RecyClass is an independent, cross-industry platform that assesses the recyclability of materials and makes specific recommendations for improving packaging design to adapt it to current recycling technologies in Europe. The platform certifies that the technology used by P&G is compatible with HDPE recycling. It also certifies that the toothpaste tubes even with their caps will not have a negative impact on the current recycling of HDPE containers in Europe. “Toothpaste tubes are largely not recyclable today,” states Paolo Glerean, Chairman of RecyClass. However, with RecyClass certification for Albéa’s Greenleaf Generation 2 technology used by P&G, the company is on the right track to both raising awareness of tube recycling as well as increasing recycling quality and rates for the HDPE rigids stream in Europe.

Sortability tested

In addition, SUEZ.circpack has successfully tested the sortability. “Accurate sorting is an essential step to ensure recycling. That is why SUEZ.circpack performed sorting tests in a fully operational sorting facility in Germany,” said Vincent Mooij, Head of SUEZ.circpack. “The results showed that the packaging could be correctly sorted into the HDPE material flow. The recognition of the plastic with near-infrared (NIR) technology was accurate and consistent.”

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