Because toothpaste is sensitive to oxygen and humidity, manufacturers traditionally produce tubes made from a combination of different plastics and a layer of aluminium, making the packaging not recycling-friendly and therefore not a sustainable solution.
But that is about to change as consumers, brands, and materials science companies like ours are striving to Imagine Better by rethinking the way we design and develop packaging materials – in this case toothpaste tubes. We estimate that if all toothpaste tubes on shelves became recyclable, 100,000 tons of waste – roughly the weight of 10 Eiffel Towers – would have the chance to have a new life each year.
NICE, founded in 1968, is one of China's largest producers of household care items, and is driven by the philosophy of "Making the World Better." NICE is committed to using more recycling-friendly packaging to promote the circular economy and the company was determined to step up and find a way to reduce oral care waste entering landfills. The company set to find a solution: recyclable toothpaste tubes that could be put into production quickly and at scale.
Dow and Amcor enabling NICE to embrace recyclable toothpaste tubes
Evolving packaging used in a well-established industry such as oral hygiene is a journey that takes close collaboration and a commitment to scalable solutions. Our materials science expertise and portfolio of high-performance polyethylene materials enabled us to work closely with Amcor, a global leader in producing responsible packaging, to develop a full plastics laminate which is the first big step to developing recyclable toothpaste tubes.
The recyclable toothpaste tube solution adopted by NICE uses high-performance polyethylene-based technology to meet the same stringent barrier performance requirements – to protect the toothpaste from oxygen and humidity - as traditional multilayer lamination tubes that we all know and use today. The full plastics solution solves the recyclability issue by removing the aluminium layer and still protecting the integrity of toothpaste products.
While the toothpaste tube solution is designed for recyclability, it also allows a transparent option. This enables NICE to create packaging that highlights the actual toothpaste in a visually appealing way, making it stand out on the shelf.
The ‘Imagine Better’ philosophy drove the initiative to overcome the challenge of oral care waste. Bringing together the right experts and capabilities enables the NICE Group to fully transition to recyclable toothpaste tubes for all products in its portfolio. This game-changing packaging solution enabled by Dow and Amcor helps NICE reduce carbon emissions and meet growing consumer demands for sustainability without compromising product performance.
This recyclable toothpaste tube solution is among many innovative recyclable packaging solutions from Dow.