Unilever, the parent company of widely used toothpastes Pepsodent and Closeup, will introduce recyclable tubes this year in India, in order to help cut plastic pollution. Unilever has been working on developing recyclable toothpaste tubes for four years. The company has now decided to roll out the same in two of its biggest oral care markets — first in France, followed by India, it said in a recent press note.
Not only in these two markets, Unilever is seeking to convert its complete toothpaste portfolio across countries to recyclable products in the next four years. “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,” the statement said.
Popular toothpastes are sold in packages that are difficult to recycle, resulting in billions of toothpaste tubes dumped into landfills every year. Most of these toothpastes come in a tube that is made with a combination of plastic and aluminium to ensure flexibility. However, this combination has become problematic when it comes to recycling. Therefore, Unilever will now switch this with a material made mostly of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). To be sure, HDPE is a highly-used recyclable material.
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. Therefore, our entire toothpaste portfolio will 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.”
Meanwhile, Unilever’s oral care brands have also partnered with multiple global packaging manufacturers including Amcor, EPL (formerly Essel Propack), Huhtamaki and Dai Nippon Indonesia (DNPI). The company claimed that it will ensure that the new tubes will continue to “protect the quality and taste of the product”.
Babu Cherian, R&D Oral Care Packaging Director at Unilever, said that the recyclable tubes have the potential to transform the whole oral care industry. “We are also making the new design available to any producers interested in adopting the new material, with the ambition to accelerate industry change,” Cherian said.