Today, we are bringing special attention to Unilever's latest announcement. Last week, the world's largest palm oil user, Unilever, announced that they still need (4) four more years to replace their conventional toothpaste tubes for their recyclable toothpaste tubes.
How do traditional tubes pollute our planet?
Most traditional toothpaste tubes are made from a combination of plastic and aluminium, which gives the packaging its flexibility and resistance that it requires to fulfil its function but it also makes it almost impossible to recycle.
Every year, an estimated 4.5 billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfill worldwide. This wouldn't be a problem unless the plastic inside the tubes didn't take 500 years to decompose.
How are recyclable tubes good for the environment?
New, recyclable tubes will use a material made of mostly of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) which is, together with PET, one of the most widely recyclable plastics globally.
It will also be one of the thinnest plastic material available on the toothpaste market at 220-microns, which will reduce the amount of plastic needed for each tube. To encourage wider industry change, the innovation or any patents owned by Unilever will be made available for other companies to implement these tubes in their products.
So what does this mean? Unless Unilever stands behind their products and establishes new measures to educate people on plastic consumption and the importance of recycling plastic products, the problem will persist. It is true that HDPE is a 100% recyclable material but it is also non-biodegradable.
Will the plastic era ever end?
We all know that our planet is drowning in plastic. We live on a era where our population has become addicted to single-use and disposable plastic. 50% of the plastic ever produced is created to be used only once - and then to be thrown away.
Luckily the world is waking up to the problem and governments are starting to help too. In the last decade, dozens of national and local governments around the world have adopted policies to reduce the use of disposable plastic. And the number continues to grow.
So far, we have seen so many positive actions, but the truth is that we all need to do more.