Colgate is taking action and aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and operate zero waste facilities by 2025.
With the effects of climate change making headlines and causing devastation, the issue has taken on a heightened sense of urgency. Now more than ever, people are seeking ways to take action — and they’re looking to companies and brands for help.
Colgate-Palmolive is leading the way by developing innovative solutions that reimagine a more sustainable future for all people, their pets, and our planet. As the company with a brand found in more homes than any other, Colgate is taking action and aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040, operate zero waste facilities, conserve water, and source sustainably with its 2025 Sustainability & Social Impact Strategy.
Reducing plastic waste is a critical part of Colgate’s strategy, and an important way to fight climate change. Nearly all plastic is made from fossil fuels, and researchers estimate that the production and incineration of plastic annually accounts for more than 850 million tons of greenhouse gases.
Colgate has pledged to eliminate one-third of its new plastics by 2025 and use at least 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic in packaging, and it’s making it easier for people to reduce their plastic waste too. The company recently designed a first-of-its-kind recyclable plastic tube — a groundbreaking innovation considering 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes are thrown in the trash every year.
“Colgate developed the first toothpaste tube recognized as recyclable, and we actually shared the technology to empower the entire industry to transform,” says Dana Medema, vice president and general manager of oral care for Colgate-North America.
“We are now seeing other manufacturers pivot to recyclable tubes, making a real impact and making recycling easier than ever,” says Medema.
Ignacio Gavilan, director of sustainability at The Consumer Goods Forum, which works with retailers and manufacturers in the consumer goods industry to drive progress towards realizing a low-waste circular economy, agrees that working together is the only way forward.
“No matter how big of a company you are, unless you do it collectively, the issue will never go away,” he says.
Recycling made easy
Now that Colgate-Palmolive has introduced a tube that’s recyclable, the next step is educating people about how to adopt this behavior. The company launched the recyclable toothpaste tube with its Tom’s of Maine brand and is rolling it out across Colgate’s full oral care portfolio. A limited edition “Recycle Me” tube design this fall will build awareness that the Colgate toothpaste tube is now recyclable.
The company is developing other eco-friendly oral health products to help consumers make small changes to live sustainably. Earlier this year, Colgate launched a new line of Keep toothbrushes featuring aluminum handles and replaceable heads. The new design uses 80 percent less plastic than similarly sized Colgate toothbrushes, and allows consumers to recycle the used toothbrush heads through TerraCycle’s national recycling program.
“This is a big difference,” says Medema. “Once again, small steps, big impact. That’s one less toothbrush that ends up in a landfill.”
The Colgate brand also makes bamboo charcoal toothbrushes, which are made with 100 percent natural, biodegradable bamboo, and don’t have plastic packaging. To conserve water, Colgate-Palmolive’s hello brand offers water-free chewable toothpaste tablets, sold in a refillable and recyclable container.
Power of partnership
Colgate-Palmolive has been recognized four years in a row by Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for “building environmental and social consciousness into every decision” and the company is doubling down on creating more sustainable solutions going forward.
Gavilan says these sustainable efforts are poised to make change, but everyone needs to do their part.
“We know what the industry needs to do: we need to make better plastic packaging and reduce the packaging we make. Colgate’s toothpaste tube is a brilliant example of the industry doing it right,” he says. “Now it’s up to consumers to make sure that these tubes make it into the right bin.”
Learn more about Colgate-Palmolive’s environmentally friendly offerings and commitment to reimagining a more sustainable future for all: colgatepalmolive.com/en-us/sustainability.