GlaxoSmithKline to kickstart rollout of fully recyclable toothpaste tubes

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

GSK will start the transition to fully recyclable toothpaste tubes under its Sensodyne Pronamel brand in Europe this July [Image: GlaxoSmithKline/Albéa]
GSK will start the transition to fully recyclable toothpaste tubes under its Sensodyne Pronamel brand in Europe this July [Image: GlaxoSmithKline/Albéa]

Related tags: Toothpaste, Oral care, Packaging, Sustainable packaging, Recyclable packaging, GlaxoSmithKline, Albéa, Tubes

Health care major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has partnered with packaging specialists Albéa and EPL to develop fully recyclable laminated toothpaste tubes, with a first launch under Sensodyne set for Europe this year.

By 2025, GSK’s Consumer Healthcare business said it aimed to produce more than one billion fully recyclable toothpaste tubes per year – part of wider plans to make 100% of its portfolio either recyclable or reusable by 2025, where quality and safety permitted, and achieve a net zero impact on the climate by 2030.

The health care major would start the transition under its Sensodyne Pronamel brand, with a roll out of fully recyclable tubes across Europe in July that would then be followed by changes to Aquafresh and Parodontax at a later date.

Albéa and EPL ‘strategic’ partnerships

GSK said had worked with two packaging suppliers to achieve its recyclability goals – French tube specialist Albéa and American specialty packaging major EPL.

Under the strategic partnership with Albéa, GSK would replace its aluminium barrier laminates with the supplier’s patented Greenleaf laminate. Its EPL partnership would see GSK produce further recyclable tubes using this supplier’s Platina laminate.

“Both laminates have passed recycling-readiness tests set by the US-based Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and by Europe’s RecyClass, meaning that the tubes will be recyclable and compatible with existing recycling processes,”​ GSK said.

Karl Graves, business director at Albéa Tubes, said: “Responsible packaging is now a must-have – and it requires close collaboration between a committed brand and a daring supplier.”

Parag Chaturvedi, VP of operations at EPL Americas, agreed: “We at EPL feel we have a significant role in the stewardship of the environment, and are committed to conserving resources, reducing waste, and building awareness of environmental issues.”

Toothpaste transitions – Unilever and Henkel recyclable tube pledges

Back in July 2020, German personal care major Henkel also announced a partnership with Albéa​ to rollout the supplier’s Greenleaf tube technology across its entire oral care portfolio – aiming to convert all toothpaste tubes to fully recyclable (cap included) by the end of this year.

More recently, personal care major Unilever announced it would transition to fully recyclable toothpaste tubes​ across France and India later this year, part of its 2025 goal to convert its entire toothpaste portfolio to fully recyclable tubes, including its Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup brands.

Unilever said it was replacing the aluminium in its tubes with High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and using thinner materials, approved as recyclable by RecyClass in Europe, Asia and North America. It had worked with several global packaging manufacturers on the convertion, including EPL, Amcor, Huhtamaki and Dai Nippon Indonesia.

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