Because You Asked: Can I Recycle Toothpaste Tubes?

You’ve squeezed the last of the toothpaste out. Now what?
Dec 30, 2014 11:40 AM ET

Dear Recyclebank,

Can I recycle empty toothpaste tubes?

-Warren C.

Many toothpaste tubes today are made of multiple materials laminated together, usually different types of plastic and aluminum. Like food pouches, the tubes are difficult to recycle because they’re made of a mix of materials, and the materials are almost impossible to separate. Curbside recycling programs don’t accept them for recycling.

TerraCycle’s mail-in recycling programs in collaboration with Colgate and Tom’s of Maine are just about the only recycling options available. You can collect your empty toothpaste tubes (as well as old toothbrushes and floss containers) and ship them for free to TerraCycle to be recycled into new products. Large enough shipments can raise money for your chosen school or charity. Alternatively, you could upcycle that old tube into a useful craft.

Until more companies use recyclable packaging for their toothpaste, the majority of toothpaste tubes will continue to end up in landfills. Consider contacting the manufacturer of your favorite toothpaste and let them know that you would like the packaging to be easily recyclable.