News & Updates

Unilever and Tubex partner on sample tube made from 100% aluminium

Unilever’s REN Clean Skincare brand and its packaging partner Tubex have created an innovative recyclable sample pack made entirely from 100% recycled aluminium – including the nozzle.

The sample pack is being described as a world-first in the luxury beauty industry. Every part is made from 100% recycled aluminium, even the nozzle, which avoids the use of tamper seals or mini plastic caps.

Beyond sustainability benefits, the companies say that aluminium is very effective in protecting the product in the pack from light degradation and any potential oxidation.

Its malleability also makes it easy to squeeze out almost every drop of product from the pack, minimising leftover waste and maximising access to the small amount inside.

In the context of Unilever’s wider sustainability pledges, REN has made a ‘Zero Waste pledge’ in the hopes of ensuring that all of its packaging can be recycled, have recycled materials or be reused by the end of 2021.

Earlier this year, it also formed a global alliance called #WeAreAllies with Biossance, Caudalie, Herbivore and YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE. This saw each member pledge to introduce “planet-friendly” packaging by the end of 2025.

“There is no silver bullet with recycling, so we have implemented various solutions to meet our Zero Waste pledge,” REN’s CEO, Arnaud Meysselle, says. “While more costly, we are committed to using these new tubes to reduce plastic waste and hope to encourage other beauty brands to rethink their sample packaging with the planet in mind.”


News & Updates

The LEGO approach to packaging sustainability

In 2020, Danish toy giant LEGO announced its best sales figures for the past five years, largely due to an uptick in consumer interest during national lockdowns. The company has also been busy in the packaging sphere – revealing changes to secondary packaging, as well as its very first brick made from recycled PET.

To learn more about these projects, as well as LEGO’s general approach to packaging sustainability, we spoke with Tim Brooks, the company’s VP of environmental responsibility.

Recently, LEGO revealed its first-ever bricks made from recycled PET. Could you give us some background on this project, and tell us more about the “patent-pending material formulation” that makes it possible?

The new prototype, which uses PET plastic from discarded drinks bottles, is the first brick made from recycled material to meet our company’s extremely strict quality and safety requirements.

This formulation of recycled PET is the most promising of over 250 different recycled PET variations that our team of 150 people has researched and tested as part of our journey to find more sustainable materials for our products.

We have also tested over 100 formulations of other sustainable materials over the past six years and found rPET to be the most suitable so far.

To get to this point, we developed a patent-pending material process to strengthen the rPET material to make it durable enough for LEGO products. We estimate that one standard 1 litre PET bottle (approx. one liquid US quart) provides enough recycled PET to make 10 2 x 4 LEGO bricks.

Our long-term ambition is to make our products from more sustainable materials, so we are excited to have a prototype that may provide an alternative material without compromising on safety or quality.

On a broader scale, LEGO aims to make all its packs recyclable or renewable by 2025. How do you plan to make this a reality – is there a roadmap?

Our ambition to make all of our packaging from sustainable materials by 2025 is another focus for our sustainable materials team.

In 2019 we started to phase out single-use plastic retail bags from our stores, and this year, started to trial paper pre-pack bags in our LEGO boxes rather than single-use plastic bags. The paper bags will be adjusted and refined during this pilot before being rolled out across the portfolio by 2025.Expand


Like you said, in terms of secondary packaging, LEGO plans to swap its plastic inner bags for paper-based ones. In the company’s view, what are the benefits of paper vs plastic in this context?

Our priority when it comes to packaging is to make it more sustainable which means from recycled or renewable sources and removing single-use plastic.

The paper we are trialling can be widely recycled by builders once they have enjoyed the building experience.

The switch from single-use plastic to paper will have a minimal impact on our total CO2 emissions, which we are already successfully working to reduce across our operations and supply chain.

LEGO recognizes that this particular effort will not be simple to deliver. Could you break down some of the challenges you expect to encounter, and how you plan to overcome them?

Phasing in the new bags is a complicated process – we need to introduce new machines to make the new packs and we make millions of boxes a day across five factories around the world.

We can’t switch everything at once, which is why we have a phased way, to ensure we can continue to get LEGO play to children around the world.

We will have completed the transition in order to meet our ambition of using 100% sustainable packaging by 2025.

Bio-based plastics are gaining traction in the packaging industry, and I’ve seen that this is also an area in which LEGO is invested. What has LEGO learned thus far from its forays into this field?

When we first launched bio-elements in 2018, we used bio-polyethylene in about a dozen of our botanical elements. Over the past few years, we’ve expanded our use, and currently have just over 100 different elements made from bio-polyethylene.

However, bio- polyethylene is a soft plastic so is not currently suitable for making harder, stronger elements such as the iconic LEGO bricks which are currently made from an ABS plastic. This is why we are continuing to explore other sustainable materials for use in our bricks.  Expand


For us, the challenge with finding more sustainable alternatives to the 20 or so materials we use for our products, is to develop materials that can be moulded to the accuracy of a hair width to ensure bricks produced today fit with those made over 60 years ago, while being durable and safe enough to be handled by children day-in, day-out. That’s why we are so excited about the breakthrough we have made with the recycled PET material.

LEGO hopes to be carbon neutral by 2022 – how is it going about making this happen?

By 2022 we want to be carbon neutral across our manufacturing operations. This will involve investing in efficiency measures to lower energy use and carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy across our sites.

Through our parent company KIRKBI, we have invested in two offshore wind farms in Germany and the UK. We already have solar panels on our new LEGO CAMPUS in Billund and are installing them across our factory network.

We are also committing to reducing our absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032 against a 2019 baseline. This target has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative as consistent with levels required to keep global warming to below 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

Implementing all of these projects across the entire business will clearly be quite the undertaking. What factors motivate these moves?

We want to play our part in building a sustainable future and making a positive impact on the planet our children will inherit. As a company that looks to children as our role models, we are inspired by the millions of kids who have called for more urgent action on climate change and protecting the environment.

Over the last ten years, we have made a series of moves to build a better planet for future generations, but we believe it’s increasingly urgent and important to prioritise environmental and social activity. That’s why last year, we announced a $400m US investment to accelerate our sustainability and social responsibility initiatives, which includes research into more sustainable materials for our products and packaging.


News & Updates Sustainability

Packaging Trend Focus: A look at the 2021 refill landscape

In the second of a series of articles looking at ThePackHub’s Global Packaging Trends Compendium, Paul Jenkins, Managing Director, ThePackHub, takes a look at the subject of refills. 

The Global Packaging Trends Compendium 2021 details more than 550 packaging innovations and is grouped into nine trends. ‘Refill Revolution’ is one of the trend areas that is exhibiting strong growth. Despite potential disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, reusable and refillable packaging examples have increased in occurrence, notably over the last 18 months as brands, retailers and suppliers look at ways of reducing single-use and difficult to recycle packaging. Sectors such as dry food, household products and personal care are leading the way by making the most initial ground to transition to refillable and reusable packaging models.

The majority of the in-store examples coming to market are at the small trial and pilot stage, with refillable packaging systems set up in a handful of test stores. Major retail chains are testing the water with a small number of initiatives in outlets. However, cosmetics, skincare and perfume retailer The Body Shop is bucking this trend and scaling up their trial operations.

Refillable scheme starts global roll out

Following successful trials in two of its concept stores, The Body Shop is rolling out its refill and recycle scheme across the globe. The initial trial, started in 2019, was launched in Bond Street, London, and Vancouver’s Pacific Centre store. The extended launch will start in France, across 47 stores, and will extend to 400 stores worldwide by the end of 2021. The Body Shop plans to have refill stations in all of its stores by 2026. The scheme works by shoppers being given a 250ml aluminium bottle, then choosing from a selection of products, including shower gels, shampoos, conditioners and soaps. Once the product has been used, the customer cleans the bottle themselves and returns it to the store for a refill. The number of refill stations will vary depending on the size of the store but is expected to be between six and 12 per outlet.

Gable-top carton refill pack for soap launched 

Norwegian home and personal care manufacturer Orkla has collaborated with Elopak to produce a sustainable refill pack for its Klar laundry detergent and liquid soap products. The new board-based carton, called D-PAK, is a move by Orkla to help consumers reduce the amount of plastic generated in the waste stream. The gable-top carton is made from renewable materials and is said to be suitable for recycling with other board products such as milk cartons and newspapers. A trial has been conducted with selected retailers and online purchasers. Consumer feedback has been positive, with reports that refilling is easy and convenient. Consumers need to pour from the carton into the original plastic container. It is said that the new pack is more efficient through the supply chain, as it saves weight and is also more cost-effective by volume. A label over the cap is added to alert the consumer that the pack’s contents are not for consumption. 

Return and refill scheme aims to reduce carbon footprint

Upcircle, a ‘by-product’ sustainable skincare brand based in London, is launching a new return and refill scheme to help reduce its carbon footprint. The company repurposes waste materials, such as coffee grounds from London coffee shops along with other waste products such as fruit stones, argan, olives, juice and tea. Ninety-nine per cent of the company’s current packaging is already plastic-free, being made from easily recycled board, glass and aluminium and now the remaining 1% can now also be recycled. Customers will be able to return their cleaned, empty packaging free of charge, which will then be sterilized, refilled and returned to customers. As part of the scheme, the shopper will receive a 20% discount on the original price. Upcircle also has an in-store set up where customers can bring in their packs to be refilled from bulk containers. 

Reusable cup trial starts coffee chain trial

Coffee shop heavyweights Starbucks are trialling a new reusable cup programme called ‘Borrow a Cup’ in five Seattle stores for two months. The aim is to reduce single-use cup waste. The customer requests a reusable cup and pays a $1 deposit. When the drink is finished, it can then be scanned at a participating store’s collection point, and once the cup’s return has been confirmed the $1 is refunded along with 10 bonus points that are added to the customer’s account. The cups are then taken away and commercially cleaned and sanitized. The cups are ready for reuse within 48 hours. The expected number of reuses for each cup is 30 times before they are recycled. The initiative is part of Starbucks’ aim to reduce waste by 50% by 2030.

The Refill Revolution trend is anticipated to maintain its growth trajectory. Brands and retailers will continue to develop refillable and reusable solutions to meet their sustainability objectives as the sector becomes more normalized.

The 2021 Global Packaging Trends Compendium comprises nine new packaging trends. It features a comprehensive assessment of more than 550 packaging innovations. It also includes the interviews of 16 industry experts from around the world, featuring packaging experts from the likes of Mars Wrigley, Mondelez, Ocado, as well as Tim Sykes, Brand Director at Packaging Europe.

More information here:


News & Updates Sustainability

Unpacking the potential of Xampla’s 100% plant protein film

Earlier this month, we reported on a new film developed by the University of Cambridge and Xampla that is made from 100% plant protein and requires no additives. We caught up with Dr Marc Rodriguez Garcia, Xampla’s Head of Research, to find out if the solution really has the potential to replace conventional plastics.

To start us off, please could you introduce this new solution to us?        

Our technology is the culmination of 15 years’ research at Cambridge University where we were looking to understand how nature generates high-performance materials from proteins. The result is a plant-based protein material that has a mechanical strength comparable to some conventional fossil-fuel-derived plastics, but is entirely natural and requires no chemical modification. 

With this technology, we’re in a unique position to say we’ve created a plastic-like high-performance material that doesn’t pollute – at the beginning or end of life.

We can source the plant protein as a by-product of the agriculture and food industries, and the resulting material can be metabolised by various microorganisms in any natural environment just like any other naturally occurring polymer, such as cellulose. This material can also be developed into edible products, given that no chemical modification is required.

What motivated the research team to develop this product, and what opportunities did you identify in planning?

In the beginning, the motivation was purely an interest in understanding the fundamental properties that allow proteins to be structured into high-performance materials in nature. We were inspired by spiders’ silk, which is weight-for-weight stronger than steel, and one of the strongest materials in nature.

When we discovered we could assemble plant proteins into a molecular structure very similar to spider silk, the potential to have a global impact on the plastic crisis became our focus. 

The technology leverages plant proteins in the form of a spider’s silk-like structure. Can you explain how this works in practice and give us some insights into the R&D process?

The strength found in spiders’ silk is a result of the regularly spaced non-covalent hydrogen bonds between the protein molecules at a very high density. Proteins have a propensity to self-assemble and the spider simply leverages protein and energy to create its high-performance material, silk. The team discovered how to make the polypeptide chains that make up plant proteins self-assemble in this way.

The outcome is a naturally derived polymer material created by taking a plant protein, such as pea isolate, and adding concentrated vinegar, heat and energy. This combination creates a material that is strong, flexible, and transparent; much like conventional plastic. 

In terms of functionality, what applications is the product suited to, and how does it perform when compared with conventional plastics?

Our mission is to replace everyday single-use plastics and intentionally added microplastics, and we’re constantly developing new applications for our material like flexible packaging films, sachets, and microcapsules. 

We can formulate materials to meet the requirements of different applications.  Our initial focus is on replacing fossil-fuel-derived polymers such as Polyvinyl alcohol where we broadly compare to their current performance, but with a completely naturally occurring material that will simply be metabolised by microorganisms in any natural environment.   

I’d like to talk a bit about end of life – how long does the material take to decompose and what is left behind? How would you recommend it be disposed of?

Our material decomposes in the environment naturally and fully and is a source of protein for living things. We’ve designed it to be home composted. In a lot of other bio-based plastic alternatives, chemical crosslinking is used to give a material the functionality of plastic, and this can compromise end-of-life sustainability by slowing degradation. Our material doesn’t require any chemical crosslinking, so there’s no trace of it after it’s disposed of. 

 What does the future hold for the film – how are you looking to make the product truly scalable?

Xampla is the commercial spin-out from Cambridge University responsible for developing new product applications and scaling the technology. We have a number of leading tech investors helping us drive this forward, alongside a rapidly growing team with the technical and commercial expertise needed to scale at a global level. 

We’re developing our material as a drop-in solution.  We need to work with current supply chain players to reach scale, and offer them a material that performs as closely as possible to their current materials.  So, our resins can be manufactured into films in standard solvent-casting processes. And our films can be made into sachets and other applications by converters with standard processes.

Major brands are being forced by impending regulation and consumer demand to hardwire sustainability into their business models, and there is an ongoing and increasingly urgent global shift away from fossil fuels. We see our material as the go-to single-use plastic substitute for the post-oil world, and we’re putting everything in place now to ensure our solution is there for the pioneering brands ready to make the shift.


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Sainsbury’s to roll out recycling system for flexible plastics

Following a successful trial in the North East of England recycling polypropylene (PP) film in selected stores, UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has rolled out a new recycling system to a total of 520 supermarkets allowing customers to recycle all flexible plastic packaging which is not commonly accepted for kerbside collection by local authorities.

The front of store recycling points set out to make it easier for consumers to correctly dispose of flexible packaging such as crisp packets, food pouches, salad bags and biscuit and cake wrappers which 83% of UK local authorities currently don’t accept for recycling, according to WRAP reports.

The expanded initiative has the potential to significantly decrease the amount of plastic packaging going to landfill, with a report from WRAP estimating that flexible film contributed towards 290,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2019.


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Why choose polystyrene?

When it comes to circularity, the biggest challenge for any material is perhaps achieving food contact. The upcoming webinar will clearly highlight the progress that has been made towards this ultimate aim, taking in chemical recycling via depolymerization, as well as more traditional mechanical recycling. For the latter, SCS has already filed its first application for EU food contact authorization and is waiting for the verdict on this.

There are of course other favourable attributes which makes PS, according to SCS, ideally suited to meet EU policy goals, including:

  • excellent suitability for dissolution;
  • low ceiling temperature and easiest mass polymer to be chemically recycled; no other mass-produced polymer can be broken down so easily to its original monomer, with only one step required;
  • rPS behaviour as a drop-in for converters/ brand owners.
  • light weight to help minimize emissions during transport.

But statements alone are not enough: more than ever, we need facts and evidence to support circularity claims – hence the recent LCA performed by NMB, which focused on closed loop recycling routes back to food contact quality and found that: 

  • High purity mechanical recycling of polystyrene feedstock from separate collection saves approx. 80% of CO2 emissions compared to incineration and conventional production of virgin polystyrene.
  • Dissolution technology exhibits 75% CO2 emission savings.
  • Depolymerization also saves approx. 75% of CO2-emissions.

Dr Thomas Neumeyer, Head of Division Polymers, NMB, and Regino Weber, Research Associate Division Polymers, NMB, conducting the study, say: “We used a conservative approach to calculate the CO2 emissions from polystyrene recycling yielding food-quality products. Best practices from recently published key LCA studies were considered, same as the know-how of industry experts globally. The full results will be peer-reviewed shortly and published later-on.”

Dr Norbert Niessner, Global Head of R&D/IP at INEOS Styrolution and Chair of Technologies at SCS comments: “The ability to produce circular food grade PS recyclate with all three major recycling technologies already makes PS stand out. And now, this also comes at a significantly reduced CO2 footprint. More upside potential is in close reach, once the innovative recycling methods are scaled-up further and the announced commercial scale plants are employed.”

Jens Kathmann, Secretary-General of SCS, commented: “We now have unambiguous, clear data that PS is not only excellently sortable and uniquely circular, but it also comes with a significantly reduced carbon footprint for all three recycling routes we have been focusing on. This adds to environmental benefits of r-PS processing as confirmed by our converter members. These LCA results clearly underline the important place that polystyrene has in the circular economy, not only with its closed loop food contact recyclability, but also with its contribution to climate neutrality.”

A final point to stress: there is no suggestion that styrenics are the only solution – or even that they are suitable for every purpose – but this favourable LCA certainly shows they warrant serious consideration as part of the circularity solution.

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New bottle sleeve from Kite Packaging leverages strength of the hexagon

Kite Packaging has launched a biodegradable and recyclable bottle sleeve that it says can boast “extreme strength and cost-efficiency.”

The employee-owned business utilised its team of in-house experts to produce the solution, which is being sold as “Flexi-Hex”. The sleeves are produced from 85% recycled paper and can, according to the company, be easily recycled after use.

The pinch top box ensures a completely plastic-free design by eliminating the need for tape while reportedly providing a safe and secure fastening. Used in conjunction, Kite says that these products provide excellent protection while minimising environmental impact.

The product’s honeycomb-inspired structure features expandable hexagonal cells. In addition, Kite says that its Flexi-Hex products significantly enhance the unboxing experience, which is crucial for securing repeat customers and establishing a reputable brand image.

Hexagons are renowned for their structural strength. It is the company’s view that this makes the sleeve suitable for packaging delicate items including glass bottles, ceramics, or homeware.

In a statement, Kite Packaging commented: “The cellular construction intertwines optimal strength with incredible flexibility, enabling you to compress the sleeves for space-saving storage before opening them up to protect your goods.

“This versatility is tailormade for guarding against any knocks and drops that can occur in transit, granting your goods an exceptional level of protection.”


News & Updates Sustainability

Unilever Transforms Deodorant Package for People with Disabilities

Refillable packaging for the new Degree Inclusive deodorant is easy to open and apply for people with visual impairment and upper limb motor disabilities.

As society becomes more aware of inequalities in life, brands are acting to show they have heard, and to show they care. One such example is the new Degree Inclusive deodorant from Unilever, currently in trial.

Degree Inclusive is the first deodorant product that comes in packaging specially designed for people with disabilities such as vision loss and missing or impaired upper limbs. People with limited arm mobility have trouble twisting a deodorant cap, turning a stick, or pushing down on a spray can — typical actions required with current packages. So, Degree reached out to occupational therapists, engineers, consultants, and designers from Wunderman Thompson — as well as getting input from people living with disabilities — to create an easy-to-apply deodorant package.

Unique features of the prototype package are:

• A hooked design for one-hand use.
• Magnetic closures for easy cap removal and reclosing.
• Ergonomic grip for easier application for users with limited mobility or no arms.
• Braille instructions on the label for users with impaired or no vision.
• A larger roll-on applicator to reach more surface area per swipe.

As society becomes more aware of inequalities in life, brands are acting to show they have heard, and to show they care. One such example is the new Degree Inclusive deodorant from Unilever, currently in trial.

Degree Inclusive is the first deodorant product that comes in packaging specially designed for people with disabilities such as vision loss and missing or impaired upper limbs. People with limited arm mobility have trouble twisting a deodorant cap, turning a stick, or pushing down on a spray can — typical actions required with current packages. So, Degree reached out to occupational therapists, engineers, consultants, and designers from Wunderman Thompson — as well as getting input from people living with disabilities — to create an easy-to-apply deodorant package.

Unique features of the prototype package are:

• A hooked design for one-hand use.
• Magnetic closures for easy cap removal and reclosing.
• Ergonomic grip for easier application for users with limited mobility or no arms.
• Braille instructions on the label for users with impaired or no vision.
• A larger roll-on applicator to reach more surface area per swipe.

You can see people using the new product/package in this video:

Degree has invited 200 people with disabilities in the US to try this new product, working in partnership with The Chicago LighthouseOpen Style Lab, and Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants have been asked to share their feedback on the product and the package, including functionality and messaging. Their input will help improve the product/package for its future commercial launch.

Design studio SOUR created the 200+ prototypes for Degree’s user trial. “While the early prototypes were 3D printed in-house for rapid iteration,” says Pinar Guvenc, partner at SOUR, “the final prototype has been produced through reaction injection molding.”

She tells Packaging Digest that the prototype holds approximately 40 milliliters of liquid deodorant, but the package is flexible in design so it could hold 50 to 75 ml for the commercial product.

Scents and sensitivities.

In addition to addressing physical disabilities, Degree Inclusive also takes other key issues into account: gender neutrality and sustainability.

Degree opted for a gender-neutral package and fragrance. As Guvenc explains, “A gender-neutral fragrance has been created as the pack is also designed to be gender-neutral. The scent is also very light to account for people with sensitivity in sense of smell.”

Two other considerations might be an influence in this decision as well:

• One, the number of disabled adults in America (about 28 million, according to 2019 US Census numbers) is a small percentage of total adults (about 252 million). So, the relatively small target audience probably couldn’t support multiple stock-keeping units (SKUs). Hence, a gender-neutral package makes sense from a financial and production point of view. However, once the commercial package is available, Degree might find that consumers who are not disabled could be interested in buying this product because of the slick-looking package that’s highly functional.

• Two, a gender-neutral package and fragrance shows sensitivity to today’s social attention on gender identity. That could resonate with like-minded consumers from a marketing/messaging perspective.

Regarding sustainability, the personal care product comes in a durable plastic package ultimately designed to be refillable to help reduce plastic consumption. But the refill pack doesn’t exist yet, according to Guvenc, so we don’t know what it looks like or how easy it would be to handle and replace. “The refill pack will be designed after gathering feedback on the roll-on prototype trial,” she says.

An affordable refill pack could also be part of the economics of the package, which looks pretty expensive compared to the typical deodorant applicator. Degree’s public relations firm was not able to answer our question on the product’s suggested retail price since this product is just being trialed.

But the model of high-end, or even luxury, packaging that’s designed to be robust enough for multiple reuses seems to be catching on with sustainably-minded consumers, as evidenced by the success of Loop, the circular shopping platform that enables consumers to buy branded products in durable, not disposable, packaging.


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Australian first: recyclable toothpaste tube from Colgate

In an Australian-first, Colgate-Palmolive has launched a recyclable tube for its Colgate toothpaste and is making its packaging technology available to all competitors.

With 50 million toothpaste tubes per annum sent to landfill in Australia, this is a welcome development from Colgate-Palmolive.

The new packaging technology, developed by global team of Colgate engineers, was five years in the making. The high density polyethylene (HDPE) tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as kerbside recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label program run by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.

Perhaps the biggest win for local industry is that market leader Colgate-Palmolive says it will be sharing its tube technology with interested companies and competitors.

The high density polyethylene (HDPE) tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as kerbside recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label program.

The high density polyethylene (HDPE) tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as kerbside recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label program

Perhaps the biggest win for local industry is that market leader Colgate-Palmolive says it will be sharing its tube technology with interested companies and competitors.

Simon Petersen, general manager, Colgate-Palmolive South Pacific, said, “Colgate-Palmolive wants all toothpaste tubes to meet the same third-party recycling standards that we’ve achieved, so we are openly sharing our technology with toothpaste competitors as well as manufacturers of all kinds of tubes.”

According to Petersen, making toothpaste tubes part of the circular economy will help keep plastic productive and eliminate waste.

“There is a lot of work ahead, but launching Colgate Smile for Good is a major first step.”

Recyclable tube development

Most toothpaste tubes are made from sheets of plastic laminate – usually a combination of different plastics – sandwiched around a thin layer of aluminium. The mix of materials makes it difficult to recycle through conventional methods. 

The Colgate Smile for Good tube has changed this by using HDPE. According to the company, having previously thought HDPE was too rigid a material to form a squeezable toothpaste tube, Colgate engineers developed a solution that could combine different grades and thicknesses of HDPE laminate into a tube that meets recycling standards, while still protecting the product and holding up to the demands of high-speed production, while remaining comfortably squeezable.

Small steps make big things happen

The Smile for Good range includes toothpaste in two variants, mouthwash, dental floss and the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush.
The Smile for Good range includes toothpaste in two variants, mouthwash, dental floss and the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush.

The recyclable tube development is another step in Colgate-Palmolive’s ongoing effort to help Australians make small, sustainable changes for the better, including the launch of the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush and its TerraCycle partnership.

The company says Colgate Smile for Good is improving the brand’s sustainability profile to help achieve its global target of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025 and Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The new Colgate Smile for Good range also contributes to Colgate’s ongoing work supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

The development of the Smile for Good tube technology saw Colgate-Palmolive named on Fast Company World’s most innovative companies list in March 2021.

Colgate Smile for Good toothpaste is now available for purchase across all major retailers in Australia.

The toothpaste is available in two variants: Smile for Good Protection and Smile for Good Natural White. The range also includes Smile for Good Protection mouthwash, Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush, and Smile for Good dental floss.


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Stora Enso and Pulpex partner to scale fibre-based bottles

Stora Enso and packaging technology company Pulpex have joined forces to industrialize the production of paper bottles and containers made from wood fibre pulp.

The joint development agreement is formed exclusively between Stora Enso and Pulpex, a sustainable packaging technology company established by Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, and Pilot Lite, a venture management company.

Produced with sustainably-sourced formed fibre pulp, the partnership says that its bottles and containers could enable a significantly lower carbon footprint compared with glass or PET.

The formed fibre products are manufactured by pressing various wood-based pulps into a three-dimensional shape in a moulding machine. The focus of the partnership now is on developing a high-speed production line which is expected to be operational in 2022

“We see great potential in combining development skills of Pulpex with our industrial capabilities, says Sohrab Kazemahvazi, SVP of formed fibre at Stora Enso. “This cooperation marks an important step in bringing to market a truly sustainable alternative to plastic bottles and containers, while offering end-user qualities that match those of traditional packaging in the beverage market.”

Using Stora Enso’s formed fibre material, Pulpex plans to produce paper bottles for an array of global brands across a variety of market applications, from homecare and personal care products to alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and liquid foods.

All of Stora Enso’s wood fibre pulp reportedly comes from sustainable, verified sources. According to the companies, the customizable Pulpex bottle allows for embossing, labelling and coloured pigments to fit brand needs, and can integrate into packaging manufacturers’ existing filling infrastructures.

“We are delighted to have Stora Enso involved with Pulpex and are looking forward to the tangible benefits of such a formidable collaboration that will undoubtedly help us over the coming months as we seek to make our new, high-speed production lines available to all our partners,” says Scott Winston, director of Pulpex Limited.