Colgate launches recyclable toothpaste tube

    (CNN) -- Colgate wants to give you another reason to smile ... and not just to show off your teeth.

The oral-care brand is launching what it says is a vegan-certified toothpaste that comes in an "industry-first" recyclable tube.

The product's development is five years in the making.

Most toothpaste tubes are made from plastic and aluminum, making it impossible to reduce your environmental footprint. But soon, Colgate hopes, you can throw your toothpaste tube in the recycling bin.

The new Smile for Good toothpaste tube is made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) -- that's the same plastic used for making milk jugs.

"Colgate wants to make tubes a part of the circular economy by keeping this plastic productive and eliminating waste," Colgate-Palmolive's Chief Executive Noel Wallace said in a release.

Why it took so long

It took the company five years to develop the new tube.

Colgate said it thought it could use a commonly recycled type of plastic called a "high-density polyethylene" (HDPE) for the new tube, but it discovered that it's not squeezable enough for toothpaste.

It's so-called "eureka moment" came when it compiled several grades of HDPE material in a toothpaste tube. That correct combination "allows people to comfortably squeeze out all the toothpaste, protects the integrity of the product, and meets the demands of high-speed production."

Going Green

Colgate's toothpaste contains minimal ingredients. It is also made of components derived from natural sources. Most toothpastes, on the other hand, contain glycerin made from animal fat.

The toothpaste lists each of its ingredients, 99.7% of which are natural. It is certified by the Vegan Society, the company says.

Colgate-Palmolive (CL), which owns the Colgate brand, is pledging to use 100% recyclable packaging on all its products by 2025 -- and its not the only company investing in recyclable products.

Procter & Gamble, for instance, is making more sustainable products by testing its refillable packages for Olay moisturizer, while Coca-Cola (KO) is committing to make its cans and bottles from at least 50% recycled material.

And by 2022, every Poland Spring water that is under one gallon will be made from recycled plastic bottles. Starbucks (SBUX) is joining in on the fun by eliminating all plastic straws by this year and is testing out a new paper cup that uses less plastic.

Two variations of the toothpaste -- Smile for Good Protection and Smile for Good Whitening - is available at retailers including Sainsbury's, Boots, Superdrug, Wilko, Waitrose, Ocado and Amazon.

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