Let's Talk About Toothpaste Tubes

Why toothpaste?

Surprisingly not many people know that there are about 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes that 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 only half of the population brushes their teeth, we need 3.9 billion of toothpaste tubes every 3 months. Which means 31.2 billion of toothpaste tubes for one year. However, the number that we found from Colgate, about 1.5 billion of toothpaste tubes are thrown away every year globally.

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 the climate change. The estimated cost to make toothpaste tube is $31 million + undefined cost of climate change.

Might be accepted to recycle

According to TerraCycle, toothpaste tubes are separated then shredded. Finally, manufacturers 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 cities have a criteria to determine to add a new item in the recycling scheme or not. For example, the City of Toronto will collect waste and recyclables to private companies. In order to do this, there should be enough, clean, and uncontaminated items. On top of that, a company needs to be willing to buy the material

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 $9 million or ends up in landfills which costs $8 million.

There are more companies still use plastic toothpaste tubes

Even after adding up cost of toothpaste tube, it is only $0.05 per one and this is one of the reason why companies keep the traditional packaging. But remember the cost does not include the amount of pollution generated.

Since this plastic tube was invented in 1890s, not many things have changed. It took us 130 years to rethink about the tube.

Now, let's hear about 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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