Brushing my teeth is one of my favorite activities. I beam when my dental hygienist comments on my teeth condition. Yet I use a lot of toothpaste, and those empty toothpaste tubes are a gray area on the green front. Can you recycle them? Can you not?
Don’t fear my readers… I did some investigating to figure out what we can do with our toothpaste-less tubes:
- The toothpaste boxes (aka packaging) should always be recyclable in Philadelphia. Stick that in your single-stream recycling bin.
- Colgate’s tubes are made from laminates and NOT recyclable.
- Tom’s of Maine also recently switched to “laminate” tubes after a long process. They explain their reasoning on their environmental practices – laminate website (ie: customer complaints) but you CAN send them your used laminate tubes to the following address: Tom’s of Maine, 302 Lafayette Center, Atn: Consumer Department, Kennebunk, ME 04043. Save a few up and send them at once.
- UPDATE: Burts Bees responded to me & said their toothpaste tubes are NOT recyclable. (“They are metal tubes with an insert on the inside to protect the Toothpaste which cannot be recycled.”)
- UPDATE: Crest’s toothpaste jam goes as follows: “Box: 100% recycled paperboard; Tubes are polyethylene/foil laminate; Caps and liquigel bottles are #5 polypropylene”. I’m assuming Philly can recycle the paper & #5 bottles/caps, but not the tubes.
- But if you can’t recycle/are feeling creative, try to upcycle non-recyclable toothpaste tubes into a toothbrush holder. Or if you’re super-craft, make a change purse and tell me how!
- Aluminum toothpaste tubes SHOULD be able to go into a recycling bin.
Overall, try to choose products that won’t go in the trash after you use them. Whether you purposely choose Tom’s because of their recycling program OR want to upcycle, be enviro-‘sponsible.