There was one major ecological problem related to toothpaste tubes and that was that they are just not recyclable. That is due to the fine aluminum layer inside the plastic tube that protects the flavor from escaping during the long shelf-life of the product. The two types of materials are inseparable agglutinated to one another that dooms the annual use of 400M toothpaste tubes to lay in the landfills. 

That’s not all. The most common plastic materials in the oral care industry are extracted from fossils which are finite resources and the manufacturing process is, as we all know, very polluting. Petroleum quantities are diminishing with only 1/4th of the current consumption actually being provided through extraction. Growing consumer concerns and governmental legislation about plastic and waste are the tipping points that have to make companies reorganize their production.

     Being the innovators in the sector, Nordics turned the standard way of manufacturing toothpaste inside out. At the end of 2020, the company introduced its first toothpaste tube made entirely from bioplastic (polymerized sugar cane). Bio-plastics are using renewable plant-based resources like potatoes, vegetable fats, and oils, corn starch, cellulose from trees and straw.

Nordics uses 100% sugar cane for the production its toothpaste tubes. Sugar cane polyethylene has the same properties as petrochemical polyethylene which means that the preservation of the toothpaste flavor, moisture, density, and effects are securely shielded.

Another very important benefit of bio-based polymers is that they make a really low CO2 footprint. The reasons for this are 1) they prevent petrol extraction from the Earth, 2) sugar cane naturally sucks out large quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere. That is how the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, a product, or a person drastically decreases when using a daily product in bio-plastic packaging. The Brazilian chemicals group Braskem claims that using its method of producing polyethylene from sugar cane ethanol captures (removes from the environment) 2.15 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of Green Polyethylene produced. If the old bioplastic tubes are recycled, and consumers close the production circle, we are actually reversing the effect of Global warming due to greenhouse gases.

     Bio-plastic doesn’t necessarily mean that it is compostable or biodegradable. See the differences in the 3 general categories below:

  1. Bio-based/renewable and non-biodegradable plastic
  2. Bio-based/renewable and biodegradable plastic – Nordics toothpaste packaging falls under that category
  3. Fossil-based and biodegradable plastic

Bioplastic usage in toothpaste packaging is a very important step for a massive decrease in plastic waste ending up in landfills and oceans. Nordics are proud to have finally introduced the opportunity for creating a closed consumer cycle to the wider public. Ideally, when recycled, the material invested in the production of one packaging will relatively stay the same.