Colgate-Palmolive pioneers recyclable toothpaste tubes and promotes unique formula of teeth whitening

The company brought home two major wins in the awards programme for its innovations.

The usual toothpaste tubes today are made from sheets of plastic laminate with a thin layer of aluminium. The mix of materials makes it difficult to recycle through conventional methods. This adversely affects the environment as the tubes become pollutants in landfills, due to the difficulty of recycling them.

Being the global oral care leader, manufacturing company Colgate-Palmolive aims to lead in waste reduction and making toothpaste tubes more sustainable. As such, it has rolled out its groundbreaking recyclable toothpaste tubes in 2021.

The recyclable toothpaste tubes are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), as the stream has one of the highest recycling rates in almost all countries.  Whilst HDPE is rigid and not well-suited for squeezable tubes, it combines different layers of HDPE laminate at varying thicknesses, which was able to replicate the soft, easy-to-squeeze recyclable tubes. The transition to recyclable tubes also brings an estimated average sustainability impact per tube in terms of carbon avoidance of up to 26% and water saving of up to 40% *

Moreover, given the need to ensure sustainability for all toothpaste brands, the company decided to share the know-how with other companies, including competitors, to promote the transition to recyclable tubes.

“By sharing our technology hopefully we can initiate a global shift to recyclable toothpaste tubes. Our dream is to have all tubes, not just toothpaste, be recycled in practice and at scale,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Colgate-Palmolive’s office in India sees ‘whitening’ as the #1 oral care concern being searched. The teeth whitening category, however, is underpenetrated, despite the huge consumer need. The company saw this huge gap as a unique opportunity that required them to think differently and tap into deep consumer insights. 

The company’s strategy for Visible White is to build beauty in oral care using four key levers: winning product, breakthrough communication, impactful media, and dominating in modern retail formats like modern trade & e-commerce.

The quest for a winning product led them to develop and launch Colgate Visible White O2.

Through immersive consumer work, the company found that whilst young Indian beauty consumers accepted societal impositions and expectations of beauty, the emerging generation displayed a willingness to push through. 

This led the company to launch the #SmileOutLoud campaign, which showcased inspiring stories of real women breaking beauty stereotypes and showcased the role Visible White O2 plays in their life: by unlocking radiance and enhancing their smiles, as they confidently face the world. 

The campaign generated high engagement with its communication, trending on Twitter and seeing several prominent industry experts speak to the uniqueness and power of the message. Colgate-Palmolive India further amplified the campaign through various media like TV, Digital, Print, Outdoor, Influencers and in-store by tapping into the multi-touchpoint journey of today’s evolved consumer.

The #SmileOutLoud campaign and the company’s innovation in the creation of recyclable toothpaste tubes have helped Colgate-Palmolive reach its audience and not just promote its products, but also help build confidence amongst its audience.

The company has been recognised by the FMCG Asia Awards as the recipient of the Product Launch of the Year - India for its Visible White O2 product and the ESG Initiative of the Year - Singapore for its commitment to sustainability through its recyclable toothpaste tubes.

The prestigious awards programme celebrates the most outstanding companies in the Asia Pacific FMCG industry that have shown exemplary performance with their innovative products and initiatives.


 *Percentages are not representative of an entire cradle-to-grave comparison. This is based on global average with selected stages in the life cycle of tubes.

The FMCG Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's exceptional products or initiatives in the FMCG industry, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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