Can Toothpaste Tubes be Recycled?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: December 18, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

The short answer is no, but there are a few exceptions to the general rule. 

Most toothpaste tubes are made of multiple materials, which can’t be processed successfully at recycling plants.

Colgate has a program called Terracycle that collects brushes, tubes and caps, toothbrush packaging, and floss containers. 

You can put it in a box and ship it to them, or you can find a drop off location.

How do you dispose of toothpaste tubes?

Colgate has a program called TerraCycle. TerraCycle offers drop-off points linked to non-profit organizations. 

Similar to the box tops program, the non-profit gets more cash for recycling more.

Can you put toothpaste tubes in the recycling bin?

If you put toothpaste tubes in recycling, they’ll likely be picked out and thrown away when they’re processed at your local recycling plant. 

You can check your local plant to find out more.

Can you put plastic tubes in recycling?

Some plastic tubes may be recyclable, but most squeezable plastic tubes are not going to be recyclable because most of them are made of multiple materials. 

When something is made of multiple materials, it’s difficult to separate the plastics from the paper, or the paper from the metal. 

Why are toothpaste tubes not recyclable?

Oftentimes, your toothpaste tubes aren’t going to be able to be processed at the plant because they’re made of plastic and metal. 

Separating the thin layer of metal from the plastic is difficult. 

Anything made of multiple materials is hard to separate and process. 

What are toothpaste tubes made of?

Most toothpaste tubes have a thin metal lining on the inside to keep the toothpaste from interacting with the plastic. 

The plastic and the thin metal layer are difficult to separate, making them difficult for recycling plants to process. 

Best way to dispose of toothpaste tubes?

If you’re looking to dispose of your plastic toothpaste tubes, you can turn them in to the Colgate program TerraCycle. 

This program turns plastic into other things like park benches and more.

There are bigger impacts you can make recycling or reusing other things, but if you’re interested in recycling, check your local area for a TerraCycle partner.

What are some environmentally friendly toothpaste options?

Colgate now offers a recyclable tube and vegan toothpaste option. Pump action toothpaste bottles are recyclable since they’re not made of the same materials.

Other options include the toothpaste tabs of different brands. 

These tabs you bite down on and then brush and it turns into toothpaste.

Can I make my own toothpaste?

Baking soda and water will do the job. Some individuals add salt, and some use coconut oil instead of water. 

The only issue with making your own toothpaste is that you don’t have any way of adding fluoride to your toothpaste. 

However, most water in cities will have added fluoride.

How do you recycle aluminum toothpaste tubes?

You can send your tooth waste like caps, tubes, brushes, and floss boxes to Colgate or drop them off with their non-profit program sponsors for TerraCycle. 

TerraCycle will make them into other objects and projects like park benches.

How long does it take for a toothpaste tube to decompose?

A toothpaste tube could take over 500 years to decompose. 

What can you make out of a toothpaste tube?

You could get creative with the toothpaste tubes you need to dispose of. Reuse them by using one of the following ideas:

  • Make frosting tubes by cutting the end off and washing it well
  • Knife or scissor sheath
  • Make cutlery pouches by cutting off the cap ends, washing them well, and hot gluing fabric to them.
  • Make glasses cases by cutting off the cap ends, washing them well, and hot gluing a great patterned fabric to them.

Why is toothpaste packaged in tubes?

Toothpaste is packaged in squeezable tubes so the consumer can get all the toothpaste out. 

This packaging was also easier to produce and distribute.

Is a toothbrush recyclable?

Small parts of toothbrushes get stuck in the processing machinery and are therefore not accepted at most plants. 

They’re made of different materials that are difficult to separate and process in the plant. 

What should I recycle?

While there may be exceptions to more than one category, generally these things can be recycled:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Glass bottles
  • Glass jars
  • Cans and other metal containers
  • Plastic

What should I not recycle?

Sticky notes may be rejected because the gum on them can cause streaks in the final product.

Toothpaste tubes and other squeeze tubes are often made of more than one material (aluminum and plastic), which makes it difficult for a recycling plant to separate or process them.

Drinking glasses and Pyrex dishes because they’re treated, so they won’t melt at the same 

temperature other glass will. 

Ceramics and other materials may be found in these items, making them hard to process. 

Paper and Receipts with shiny films shouldn’t be recycled. The shiny layer is a coat of bisphenol A or S (BPA or BPS), a harmful chemical when released into the environment or ingested.

Crisp Packets like potato chip bags or baby food pouches with metallic film hold onto food debris and oils, which can’t be processed. 

Salad bags usually can’t be recycled because most of them contain multiple types of plastic, which can’t be separated and processed. 

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