How we decided to change our toothpaste tubes

“We put more toothpaste tubes into the world than any other type of packaging, so we don’t take the decision to change tubes lightly. It takes a lot of work to evaluate the true environmental impact of a change like this, but it’s absolutely worth it to know that we are making a sustainable and responsible choice in the end.”


Simply White Toothpaste

In 2014 we began packaging our adult toothpaste in aluminum barrier laminate (ABL) tubes—which have a layer of aluminum foil sandwiched between layers of plastic—instead of the plastic barrier laminate (PBL) tubes we have used since 2011.

When we transitioned from our iconic aluminum tubes to plastic barrier laminate tubes in 2011, we gave the decision careful, holistic consideration, with lengthy review through our Stewardship process. And with this latest tube change, we applied the very same rigor to the decision making process.

With the change from aluminum to plastic tubes in 2011, we eliminated the problem with tubes cracking and leaking, but lost something important: tube memory. Unlike most toothpaste tubes, the new plastic tubes didn’t have a metal layer to help the tube hold its shape after squeezing, allowing pockets of air to get back into the tube.

We believed that moving to a standard ABL toothpaste tube would improve both the user experience and efficiency on our manufacturing line, but first we needed to ensure that the change wouldn’t negatively impact the tube’s sustainability profile. We conducted a critically reviewed, third-party Life Cycle Assessment and had people test the new tube at home. The investigation indicated that:

  • It requires lower consumption of energy, fossil fuels, and water to manufacture an ABL tube than a PBL tube, though the overall carbon footprint is equivalent
  • ABL tubes weigh less than PBL tubes and can be manufactured more efficiently, reducing packaging waste
  • The vast majority of users participating in testing—including Tom's of Maine toothpaste users like you—thought the new ABL tube performed the same or better than their current toothpaste tube
  • Like the PBL tubes, the ABL tubes can be recycled through our TerraCycle collection program, and are BPA-free

Based on these results, we feel good about making this small change in our tubes. We are looking at other packaging options for the future that significantly improve sustainability while providing the usability you expect in a toothpaste tube, and will be sure to bring you along with us on the journey.

Additional information

Because we believe in your right to know what you are buying we do our best to share relevant information openly so you can make an informed decision.