Do Toothpaste Tubes Go in the Recycle Bin?

If there’s one thing that has become a bathroom staple, it’s toothpaste. It has become one of those things that people will buy without even being marketed to. So it’s not surprising that some of us use several brands of toothpaste at the same time and end up with empty toothpaste tubes ever so often.

But are these tubes recyclable? Or do you just have to toss them in the trash and hope for the best? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

What are toothpaste tubes usually made out of?

They are usually made of a mixture of plastic and aluminum. This combination of materials makes the tubes flexible.

Can you recycle toothpaste tubes?

Traditional toothpaste tubes are difficult to recycle because of the materials they are made of and the toothpaste that usually remains stuck to their inner surfaces. As such, many local recycling programs won’t accept them.

However, you can still recycle them through special programs like TerraCycle’s Oral Care Free Recycling Program. Such programs usually shred these tubes before washing them to remove any leftover toothpaste. The resulting shredded material is then dried and made into pellets that can be used to make new products.

Keep in mind though; companies like Colgate have in recent years started making their toothpaste tubes with mostly high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This material is highly recyclable and is accepted by most curbside recycling programs.

Also, it is thin, effectively reducing the amount of plastic used to make a toothpaste tube.

Can you recycle toothpaste tube lids?

Yes, you can recycle toothpaste tube lids. They are made of pure plastic.

Are toothpaste tubes biodegradable?

No, they aren’t biodegradable.

Why are toothpaste tubes an issue for the environment?

Since traditional toothpaste tubes are difficult to recycle, they usually end up in landfills and add more plastic to the ground.

What is the proper way to dispose of a toothpaste tube?

To sustainably dispose of a toothpaste tube, send it to the TerraCycle Oral Care Recycling program.

To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Create a TerraCycle account and then join the program
  2. Collect your empty toothpaste tubes and other old oral care packaging materials in an empty box until it’s full
  3. Sign in to your TerraCycle account, download a shipping label, and then print it
  4. Seal your box and attach the shipping label to it
  5. Send the box to TerraCycle

Keep in mind though; you don’t have to always dispose of your empty toothpaste tubes. You can reuse them around your home instead.

Some of the ways to do this are:

1. Use them to create tooth fairy pouches

All you need to do this is a pair of scissors, velcro, hot glue, paint, a permanent marker, and an empty toothpaste tube. To start, you’ll need to cut off the top part of the tube. Afterward, you’ll have to wash the tube and leave it out to dry.

Once this is done, cut one inch down from the open end of the tube on each of its sides. This will leave you with two flaps. You can then cut off one of them and decorate the rest of the tube using paint and markers.

Finally, you can apply the velcro to the flap and where it meets the rest of the tube to create a closing mechanism.

2. Use them as icing tubes

This is one of the easiest ways to reuse toothpaste tubes. Just cut off the sealed bottom of the tube, wash it, and dry it out. Afterward, you can fill the tube with your icing and squeeze it out the side with a lid.

Brand-specific questions

Can you recycle Crest toothpaste tubes?

Yes, you can recycle Crest toothpaste tubes. These tubes have been manufactured using recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) since January 2021. This material can be easily recycled using many curbside programs.

Are Oral-B toothpaste tubes recyclable?

Yes, you can recycle Oral-B toothpaste tubes. Like Crest, it has been using HDPE for its tubes since January 2021. Procter & Gamble, the company behind the two brands, decided to make this move in 2020.

Colgate was the first brand to ever use HDPE for toothpaste tubes. The company behind the brand, Unilever, made its technology available to other toothpaste companies.

Can you recycle Arm and Hammer toothpaste tubes?

Yes, you can recycle Arm and Hammer toothpaste tubes through TerraCycle. All you have to do is:

  1. Open an account with TerraCycle and sign up for the Arm and Hammer Toothpaste Free Recycling program
  2. Fill a box with the tubes and any other Arm and Hammer toothpaste packaging until it’s full
  3. Log in to your TerraCycle account, download a shipping label, and print it
  4. Seal the box, attach the label to it, and send it to TerraCycle

Can you recycle Tom’s toothpaste tubes?

Tom’s of Maine toothpaste tubes are made of HDPE and can be recycled by many curbside recycling programs.

Final thoughts

While toothpaste tubes have traditionally contributed to the plastic in landfills, things have begun changing as they become more and more recyclable.

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