Caring for the environment has been something we have focused on since 1970. Our very first product was Clearlake Laundry Detergent–the nation’s first liquid, non-phosphate laundry detergent. Since then we have continued to find ways to minimize our impact through our manufacturing practices, our packaging choices and the organizations we partner with.
We publish our sustainability progress and goals in our annual Goodness Report. Let us know what you think, and ways we can continue to improve our commitment to caring for the planet.
Learn More About Our Recyclable Tube
Over 1 billion toothpaste tubes are thrown away into landfills each year in the U.S. – so we're proud to debut this first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube. In fact, this is the first toothpaste tube recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers for its breakthrough technology.
This is just the beginning of how we're helping to change the system of recycling tubes and give them a second life by turning them into something new. Our goal is to help facilities and brands alike understand the conservation possibilities of recyclable tubes.
To that end, we're continuing to partner with The Recycling Partnership and working to help local recycling facilities understand they can accept our tubes. And we look forward to sharing our technology with other makers of plastic tubes for all kinds of products in order to make an even bigger impact on the future of our planet.
Read our FAQ to learn more.
First, check to be sure that your tube has this flag on it:
Our transition to the recyclable tube is happening throughout 2019 and 2020, so not all tubes will immediately be recyclable. It's important that if your tube does not have this flag on it that you don't put it into your recycling bin.
Your tube has the flag above on it? Great! Getting your tube ready for recycling is easy: simply squeeze out as much of the toothpaste from the tube as you can, replace the cap, and place the tube in your recycling bin. The Tom's of Maine toothpaste tube can be put into your household recycling bin for curbside recycling if your community accepts #2 HDPE plastic. #2 plastic is a commonly recycled plastic and is what many laundry detergent bottles and milk jugs are made from.
Please don't cut open the toothpaste tube to try and remove excess toothpaste! During the processing of the tube at the recycling facility, the tube is ground up and goes through a "rinsing" process, where all the residual toothpaste is washed off of the plastic. So there's no need for you to do any rinsing at home.
Now that we've solved technical recyclability, acceptance by sorting facilities and reprocessors is our current focus. These important groups are key to turning "recyclable" into "recycled," and we are working with them both individually and through collaborative groups, including the APR, More Recycling, and The Recycling Partnership. We've tested the sortability of tubes both using APR's Size Sortability Protocols, as well as through three actual MRFs (sorting facilities); data from these efforts shows that our two main sizes of tubes are able to make it through to the container line successfully, and there is minimal mis-sorting.
We are also being transparent about this work so that other tube brands and manufacturers will transition quickly, because sorting facilities are not generally equipped to be able to tell the difference between a recyclable and non-recyclable one. Once there is a critical mass of recyclable tubes in the market, we can then turn our focus to working with cities and municipalities on how to best change communications to residents about tube acceptance.
The plan is for all of our full size tubes to be recyclable by the end of 2020 and our toothpastes will transition into the recyclable tube by sub-brand. During this transition, some of our toothpastes will be in the recyclable tube while others won't have transitioned yet. Additionally, it will take time for other tube manufacturers to also make the transition. When in doubt, throw it out!
We are making our recyclable tube with #2 HDPE, which continues to have a strong recycling stream for packaging as well as other uses. It is also a common type of plastic used by other personal care and beauty brands, as well as home care and food brands, which is why we are collaborating with the broader industry, to include retailers.
At Tom's of Maine, we have a commitment to lessen our product and packaging waste and improve recyclability of our packaging material as part of our Goodness Goals . We continue to work on ways to minimize the environmental impact that both our products and packaging have on our natural environment.
Recycling practices vary by municipality and not all types of materials are accepted in all towns. If your town doesn't accept #2 plastic, we encourage you to recycle your toothpaste tubes through Terracycle
Solving for the Non-Recyclable
While we're proud of our recyclable toothpaste tube, not all toothpaste tubes are recyclable just yet and unfortunately many other types of personal care packaging aren't accepted through curbside recycling. Through our partnership with TerraCycle, you can send in your hard-to-recycle personal care packaging waste so it can be made into new and useful objects. Our Natural Care Brigades accept mouthwash bottles and caps, deodorant containers and caps, toothpaste tubes and caps, soap packaging, floss containers, and toothbrushes from any brand!