The 100% HDPE toothpaste tubes used by some brands and marketed as recyclable are under fire from a consumer watchdog group, with brands denying allegations of deceptive marketing.
The advertisement watchdog group Truth in Advertising filed the complaints against Colgate-Palmolive over the way that company markets its Tom’s of Maine and Colgate brand toothpaste tubes.
Calling the tubes recyclable violates the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, the group claimed. It filed the complaints with the FTC and regulators in California and Connecticut, and the Connecticut attorney general is investigating the claims.
An investigation by the group found that “while Tom’s and Colgate toothpaste tubes are technically recyclable in that they are made of a kind of recyclable plastic, the tubes are not actually getting recycled at recycling facilities across the country and end up in landfills as a result,” Truth in Advertising’s press release noted.
“This is due to a number of factors, including contamination issues, the size and shape of the tubes and their similarity in appearance to non-recyclable products,” the press release added.
Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, said in the press release that Colgate-Palmolive “is engaging in a quintessential case of greenwashing by marketing its toothpaste tubes as recyclable and taking advantage of eco-conscious consumers who make purchasing decisions they believe benefit the environment.”
Colgate-Palmolive disputed the allegations in a statement to Plastics News, noting that the tubes also direct consumers to check with local recycling facilities. The tubes debuted in 2019.
The company added that it is “proud to have pioneered a first-of-its-kind toothpaste tube recognized as recyclable and to have shared our technology with others to speed the industry wide transformation.”
The FTC Green Guides are currently under review for the first update in a decade.