Procter & Gamble Oral Care have unveiled its newest packaging innovation across its leading toothpaste brands, Crest, Oral-B and Blend-a-med. This announcement increases the level of recyclability of its toothpaste tubes, as part of the P&G Ambition 2030 commitments of achieving 100% recyclable or reusable packaging.
The leading global oral care brands, Crest and Oral-B, and the European brand Blend-a-med, will start the switch in January 2021 and will continue until full conversion, by 2025.
Toothpaste tubes are used by millions of consumers every day; however, its multi-material construction poses a challenge for recycling facilities around the globe. The solution to this is the HDPE – High-Density Polyethylene – tube, which provides the same product protection as current tubes, and which has been certified by North American and European recycling bodies to be compatible with existing recycling technologies. These HDPE tubes can be recycled where collection programs exist.
For introducing the right solution and making its toothpaste tubes more sustainable, Procter & Gamble is in discussions with several HDPE tube suppliers and has already reached an agreement with Albéa to start using its proprietary Greenleaf Generation 2 tube technology, which enables the tubes to be recyclable wherever collection schemes are active. Greenleaf Generation 2 tubes are recognized by the North American Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) as well as RecyClass and SUEZ.circpack® in Europe and can be recycled within the existing, effective HDPE bottles recycling stream.
To earn APR recognition, it was demonstrated that the toothpaste tubes could be converted into quality post-consumer HDPE resin, and then reused to make new plastic bottles.
RecyClass is an independent cross-industry platform that assesses material recyclability and provides specific recommendations on how to improve packaging design to fit current recycling technologies in Europe. The platform certifies that Procter & Gamble’s ‘toothpaste tube’ technology is considered to be compatible with HDPE recycling. Moreover, it certifies that both Procter & Gamble’s ‘toothpaste tubes with cap’ product will not have a negative impact on the current European HDPE containers recycling.
“Toothpaste tubes are not largely recyclable today; with the RecyClasscertification for Albéa’s Greenleaf Generation 2 technology used by P&G, however, we are on the right track towards increasing both the design for recycling awareness for tubes as well as increasing recycling quality and rates for the HDPE rigids stream in Europe,” said Paolo Glerean, RecyClass Chairman.
In addition, the sortability of the tubes has been successfully tested by SUEZ.circpack® following the RecyClass sorting protocol, confirming that the tubes will flow into the correct stream and be recycled with the HDPE materials.
“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. The facility and the technologies in place are very common for the European recycling industry. 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,” said Vincent Mooij, Head of SUEZ.circpack®.
“P&G Oral Care started our sustainability journey many years back and continue to reduce our footprint. To drive a more circular supply chain, all of our production sites globally are qualified as sending zero manufacturing waste to landfill, and our sites across the United States, Canada, and Europe purchase 100% renewable electricity,” stated Steve Bishop, P&G Health Care Chief Executive Officer. “There is much yet to be done; however, we are proud of the steps we are taking with our leading brands, Crest in North America, and Oral B and Blend-a-med in Europe, to achieve recyclable tubes in the years ahead.”
Virginie Helias, P&G’s Chief Sustainability Officer added: “We have committed to enable and inspire responsible consumption through innovation on our product and packaging. Our leading oral care brands touch millions of people around the world. This new packaging innovation will contribute to making the toothpaste tubes recyclable at scale in existing recycling streams, hence reducing our footprint and striving for circular solutions. It’s no longer about if or what we can do, but how quickly we can do it.”