KENNEBUNK, Maine — Tom’s of Maine has begun shipping a first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers. The tube is designed to be compatible with the No. 2 HDPE plastic stream and will begin shipping just ahead of National Recycling Day on November 15.
Until now, toothpaste tubes haven’t been recyclable because most are made of a mixed material that doesn’t have a second life and has to be landfilled. The No. 2 plastic continues to have a strong recycling stream and is the same material used in most laundry detergent bottles. The new Tom’s of Maine recyclable tube is designed to be “circular,” so that the material can be re-processed into new products and packaging.
“We’re thrilled to offer a first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube that’s been recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers, which sets the standard for North America. There is no oral care or personal care tube on the market with this APR recognition,” said Esi Seng, general manager at Tom’s of Maine. “We’re already hard at work engaging with The Recycling Partnership and their network to communicate with recycling centers and win their acceptance of our recyclable tube. We’re proud to be blazing a trail for other toothpaste brands to follow.”
Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque & Whitening Peppermint Natural Toothpaste will be the first variant in the new tube, available on shelves in the coming weeks, with all full size Tom’s of Maine toothpastes in the new recyclable tube by the end of 2020.
“When it comes to recycling, shoppers interested in natural products are also more committed, active participants in working to keep waste out of landfills,” said Julie Sprague, stewardship manager at Tom’s of Maine. “This is another commitment we’re making as a company guided by a rigorous set of standards called our Stewardship Model, which ensures we’re operating sustainably and responsibly every day. Taking care of the planet is a goal we all share and this exciting launch is a new way we can work together in this ongoing effort.”
To recycle the tube at home, people should check the back of their tube for the blue “flag” that tells you what to do: once empty, replace cap and recycle with No. 2 plastics. Tom’s of Maine tubes without the blue flag haven’t yet transitioned to the new recyclable material. Recycling practices vary by municipality and if a town doesn’t accept #2 plastic, the Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Recycling Program, a partnership with TerraCycle, is a recommended option for recycling all personal and oral care packaging regardless of the brand.