Think Toothpaste Tubes Are Recycled? Think Again...

Game on toothpaste tubes, it’s time you got a good old-fashioned showdown! We’re sick of your waste and your lies. Recycled, ha... don’t make us laugh! 1.8 billion of you in our landfills every year! It's time for the brushing revolution #tabsnottubes

Ever stopped to think where your toothpaste tube actually ends up?

The issue of sustainability with everyday products, is big, huge!

The act of throwing a toothpaste tube in the bin is so normal you probably don’t even realise you’re doing it. But have you ever stopped to think just how unsustainable the oral care market is?

If not, it’s time you did! Let’s look into why toothpaste tubes aren’t sustainable and where they all end up. Plus, we’ll look at the easiest way to go zero waste with your oral care.

Why Aren’t Toothpaste Tubes Recyclable?

Majority of toothpaste tubes aren’t recyclable because they contain mixed materials, which are very difficult to separate during the disposal process. Not only do they contain several types of plastic, they also have an aluminium lining.

The aluminium helps keep the toothpaste fresher and also provides the product with more structural integrity. But, because metal isn’t inert to food products, it often needs a coating of plastic, too.

Aluminium was actually the product of choice for the second major wave of oral care products. When they were first popularised, glass was the best option. It was secure and easy to manufacture but as demand increased for toothpaste, companies needed a ‘better’ material.

Surprisingly, this was metal. Aluminium toothpaste tubes were lighter, which cut down on transport costs. They were also flexible and secure, meaning the toothpaste inside didn’t end up squeezing everywhere. From a sustainable perspective, aluminium wasn’t a bad choice, but not many people cared about the environment in the ‘50s.

Unsurprisingly, plastic crept its way in soon after that. By the 1980s, the plastic toothpaste tubes we're all familiar, with were the norm. Plastic tubes with a thin layer of aluminium inside were lighter still and were much cheaper to produce.

And of course, this has led us to the position we’re in now, where we’re actively looking for zero-waste alternatives to these mixed-material products.

Recyclable Toothpaste Tubes

But wait, aren’t toothpaste tubes now recyclable? Around 2019, major oral care brands began making the switch to fully plastic tubes that could (theoretically) be thrown into curb side plastic recycling.

So surely that solves that then, right? Well, no, unfortunately, a mere 10% of plastic waste gets recycled. That’s 90% of every toothpaste tube that is either being shipped to another country, burnt, or ending up in landfills and oceans.

Recycling Alone isn’t the Answer

So, if 90% of our plastic waste ends up everywhere but the recycling plant, what can we do to solve this?

The bottom line is to become as plastic free as you can. If we can’t guarantee our plastics are being recycled, the next step is to just stop using them wherever possible. After all, if we show there’s less demand, it will force the hand of the larger manufacturers to make a change!

But how do you tackle plastic free, zero waste oral care? With a few conscious changes, it’s not as difficult as you might think.


Half of the oral care equation is toothbrushes, another product that’s almost impossible to recycle. For now, the best solution is bamboo toothbrushes or newer players in the market, such as Suri, are helping the situation. Check out our post on them. While you’ll still need to throw them in your normal rubbish, they at least won’t stick around for hundreds of years.

Of course, we are massive fans of the old up-cycle! An old toothbrush is a great cleaning tool for everything from tile grout and headphones to those hard-to-reach spots inside faucets and around taps. 

Dental Floss

Another big waste culprit is dental floss, which comes in plastic packaging and is itself non-recyclable. Luckily, there’s a growing market of plant-based flosses in glass containers. Most offer refill packs that come in plastic free packaging. While it’s not completely zero waste, it’s most certainly a step in the right direction.


Finally, we arrive at the main subject of our zero-waste oral care routine: toothpaste. How do you go about finding plastic free toothpaste that’s also sustainable?

The simple answer is toothpaste tabs, and let’s be honest, we believe ours are the best! We’ve made it our mission to develop a sustainable alternative to toothpaste tubes that still cares for your teeth in the best way, remineralising and strengthening enamel.

Our packaging is completely plastic free, yip, zero plastic as you know it! Rather we use 100% recyclable aluminium tin for storing your tabs (think of it as your life tin 😉), and refills that come in bio-degradable pouches. These pouches are made with kraft paper and PLA, which is made from renewable plant resources (known as bio-plastics), and as such are biological renewable and biodegradable material.

We’ve also formulated our chewable tabs – with the help of dentists – to be derived from natural ingredients. You still get the tooth whitening power, the remineralising action and stain removal you need, and they give you all-day fresh breath, there’s just nothing artificial in them.

Finally, because they’re tablets, each one contains the perfect amount for a single brushing. It means no overusing toothpaste (a particular issue for kids), so you won’t run through them too fast. Nothing says environmental sustainability like zero waste.

Check out our 14-tab trial to see if you’re ready to kick some toothpaste-tube butt!