More CPG brands to launch recyclable toothpaste tubes in APAC to meet growing sustainable packaging demand, says GlobalData

Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, the China-based business division of the multinational materials science giant Dow, has recently introduced new recyclable toothpaste tubes for oral hygiene brands. Recyclable toothpaste tubes are just one among the wide range of innovative solutions that consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are embracing to meet the growing consumers’ demand for sustainability with functionality in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Recyclable toothpaste tubes resonate with the strong consumer demand for eco-friendly packaging, as revealed by GlobalData’s Q3 2021 survey, wherein 47% of the APAC respondents felt that ‘easy to recycle’ was an extremely important factor for products*.

This trend was more pronounced in South-East Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, which are most affected by marine plastic pollution.

Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Ordinary toothpaste tubes are made of a combination of plastic and aluminum layers to preserve the integrity of the contents, while leaving the tube flexible enough for easy squeezing. However, as it is difficult to separate these layers, toothpaste tubes are near-impossible to recycle, and mostly end up in landfills or the ocean.”

Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics claims that it has resolved this problem by developing tubes with a single high-performance polyethylene (PE) plastic layer that is fully recyclable. Additionally, the packaging is printable, thereby allowing toothpaste brands to imprint their own designs and improve the shelf appeal of their packaging.

Even before Dow came to the fore, several CPG brands have already unveiled their own recyclable toothpaste tube formats. In May 2021, Unilever announced the launch of its toothpaste brands, Closeup, Signal, and Pepsodent in recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tubes in two of its biggest oral care markets, India and France. Leading oral health brands, including the Colgate-Palmolive Company, GlaxoSmithKline and Sheffield Pharmaceuticals, have also joined the fray with their own recyclable toothpaste tubes.

Mr Verghese concludes: “The packaging materials need to meet the manufacturer’s specifications for barrier performance, cost-effectiveness, haptics and shelf life, besides fitting in with the existing recycling-streams, and complying with the varying regulations across countries.

“While biodegradable packaging remains the ‘holy grail’ for CPG brands, circular economy solutions such as recyclable toothpaste tubes are quintessential stop-gap interventions, given the sheer scale of plastic waste piling up in landfills and the oceans in the APAC region.”

*Data taken from GlobalData Q3 2021 Consumer Survey – the Asia-Pacific (September 2021) with 6,399 respondents

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