Let's Talk About Toothpaste Tubes

Why toothpaste?

Surprisingly, not many people know that about 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfills each year globally.

2 times a day

When I first started becoming an eco-conscious consumer, it was difficult to find sustainable items. Toothpaste was the very first thing that I had a hard time finding a sustainable alternative for.

How many toothpaste tubes are thrown away yearly?

There are 7.8 billion people on the planet. If we assume only half of the population brushes their teeth, that means 31.2 billion toothpaste tubes are used every year. However, a study done by Colgate showed that about 1.5 billion of toothpaste tubes are thrown globally per year.

The hidden cost of plastic toothpaste tubes

The first hidden cost comes from raw material which is the extraction of oil that is refined and manufactured into plastic. We couldn't find the cost of pollution during the process because we don't know the real price to fix climate change. The estimated cost to make toothpaste tubes is $31 million + undefined cost of pollution.

Might be accepted to recycle

According to TerraCycle, toothpaste tubes are separated then shredded. Manufacturers then melt these pieces into hard plastic.

In theory we can recycle toothpaste tubes, however, many cities do not have the resources to do it. This is because each city has a different criteria to determine what to include into its recycling scheme. For example, the City of Toronto will collect waste and recyclables and sell it to private companies. In order to do this, there should be enough, clean, and uncontaminated items. On top of this, the company needs to be willing to buy the material collected by the city.

Recycling cost more than making a new tube

We researched to find out how much it costs to recycle tubes. Recycling toothpaste tubes costs 17% more than creating new plastic tubes. If the tubes do not get recycled it will be incinerated which costs cities $9 million or they end up in landfills which costs cities about $8 million.

A lot of companies still use plastic toothpaste tubes

It only costs $0.05/tube. This is why companies continue to use traditional toothpaste tubes. But remember the cost does not include the amount of pollution generated.

It took us 130 years to rethink the plastic tube.

Let us know your thoughts. Leave a comment and let's start a conversation.

This page will be updated every time valuable information is left in the comments.

Hello! My name is Hana Bae and I am the Founder of Oxygenate. All comments will be monitored by me and I will respond to your comments and questions! Thank you for your time and interest in Oxygenate!

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