Can You Recycle Toothpaste Tubes? (And Clever Alternative Uses)

One thing we are all in constant lookout for is good health. You definitely do not want to fall sick. Well, this means that you will pay great attention to your teeth.

In turn, this means you will need loads of toothpaste each year to keep your teeth clean. And if you are not to meager in your use, you just might be using quite a number at the end of the year.

However, have you ever wondered what you could do with those tubes that house your toothpaste? Do you think rather than thrash them, you could recycle them?

These are all questions that boggle the mind. But do not worry, we have got them covered. In this post, we will answer the popular question, can you recycle toothpaste tubes. Then, we will dive into other relevant questions.

Let’s go!

Are Toothpaste Tubes Recyclable?

We bet you are possibly thinking, how do you recycle a tube that got soiled by the toothpaste. So, you conclude that it is most likely impossible to recycle toothpaste tubes.

Well, you are both right and wrong. In fact, a few years back, you would have been completely right as most centers rejected toothpaste tubes. However, the reality is that things have changed.

Thanks to the recent development by TerraCycle and Colgate, it is now POSSIBLE to recycle toothpaste tubes. Typically, your toothpaste tubes have plastic components that are generally recyclable. Alternatively, they are made of aluminum or plastic-aluminum composites, all of which you can recycle.

While the merger of these components can make it difficult to recycle, you can now recycle them with the right recycling center. Even those sticky residues that you think pose a problem are not so much of a problem. The recycling company will usually shred the tubes. This way, the surface of the tubes becomes exposed.

Afterward, the shredded materials will go through a washing process. This process cleans the material and gets all residue off it. Then, once clean, the recycling company proceeds to dry them.

The goal is to make them ready for pelletizing. With this, the materials get converted into useful pellets that can constitute new products.

However, it would be a good idea to clean your tubes before dropping them off in most cases. All you will need to do is ensure there is hardly any toothpaste residue in it. Then, cut off the cap and open the tube up by making a vertical cut. It would be best if you then washed your tubes using soap and warm water.

Are Toothpaste Boxes Recyclable?

Now that you know so much about toothpaste tubes, you do not want to stop here. You are wondering what happens to your toothpaste boxes. Can you recycle them? And what issues will you face if you try to?

You are in luck. You CAN recycle your toothpaste boxes. And it is even easier to recycle than your toothpaste tubes.

The reason is simple. As you can tell, your toothpaste boxes are cardboard-made. In turn, this means that they are a product of paper. And if you did not already know, papers are one of the easiest things you can recycle. All you will need to do is find a recycling center that accepts them.

However, there is one problem. Most toothpaste boxes come from recycled paper. And with paper, it has a limited recycling capacity. With every visit to the recycle center, the paper gets thinner. Then, when it gets to a stage, recycling might be impossible.

However, barring this, you should not have any problem trying to recycle your toothpaste boxes.

Are Toothpaste Tubes Biodegradable?

The next thing we will consider is whether your toothpaste tubes are biodegradable. And by this, we mean whether bacterial and other living organisms can result in their decomposition to avoid pollution.

So, with toothpaste tubes, it means when you dispose of them, can bacteria break them down fast enough. This way, they disappear and do not constitute a source of pollution.

Well, to that, the answer is NO. Your toothpaste tubes are practically not biodegradable. And this is because of how long it takes for decomposition to occur. You will recall that your toothpaste comes from plastic components. Even worse, they compress these plastics together with aluminum to ensure they last.

Well, guess what, this means that after you dispose of your toothpaste tubes, they continue to exist. In fact, your toothpaste tubes will as much as 500 years to fully decompose. And, in this period, they will sit comfortably on landfills. In some cases, they find their way to marine bodies where they will do much harm to the environment.

Even more, unless you plan on living for over a hundred years, your toothpaste tubes will live far more than you—as much as five times more.

Your best bet is to make your toothpaste yourself. Alternatively, you can apply your used toothpaste tubes to other uses. Do not worry. We will tell you about them later.

Can You Recycle Toothpaste Caps?

One thing that often crosses your mind is your toothpaste caps. They appear different from your toothpaste tubes. As such, you are wondering if they are different. And, of course, if you can recycle them.

Well, your toothpaste cap and tubes fall under the same category when it comes to recycling.

Yes, you would have considerable difficulties finding a recycling center that accepts your toothpaste caps. However, with the right center, you can get your toothpaste cap recycled.

Once you get them to the appropriate quarters, the caps get shredded. Then, they go through a process where they get melted and remolded for other uses.

Can I Put Toothpaste Tubes in the Recycle Bin?

You now know that with enough effort, you can recycle your toothpaste tubes. So, next on your list is dropping off your tubes in a recycling bin just like your other recyclables.

Well, hold up, that might not be the best idea. It is actually not a good idea to drop your toothpaste tubes in a recycle bin and if you do so, in such a case, be prepared to have them end up in landfills.

This is because most recycling centers do not support the recycling of toothpaste tubes. And dropping it with them would only constitute thrash.

So, what you need to do is research the nearest recycling center that accepts toothpaste tubes. You can mail your toothpaste tubes to them for recycling. However, you might want to accumulate a few tubes before sending it for your convenience.

Are Toothpaste Tubes Bad for the Environment?

You probably read this and wondered how toothpaste could be bad for the environment. The question is not about the toothpaste. Instead, it is more about the toothpaste packaging – tubes.

Like you now know, your toothpaste tubes are a combination of different plastic types and aluminum. So, then, are these tubes bad for your environment.

Well, the fact is that these tubes are NOT the best bet for your environment. This is because while it is now possible to recycle them, it is not so popular. As such, you will find most people disposing of their toothpaste the way they do without other non-recyclable materials.

Now, this is where the problem comes in. Due to these circumstances, your toothpaste tubes are more likely to end up in landfills. And due to their plastic components, they can take years, exceeding hundreds to decompose.

Worse, these plastics will find their way to water bodies where they harm aquatic life. So, unless you are recycling your toothpaste tubes, they are quite the issue for the environment.

You will only have to understand that there are over 7 billion people in the world right now. And a large majority, if not all, are in constant use of toothpaste.

For instance, Americans bought over 400 million units of toothpaste from leading brands in 2018. In turn, this means there are many tubes getting churned out each year. That is definitely a bad thing.

What Can You Do with Toothpaste Tubes? (Alternative Uses)

The problem with toothpaste tubes comes when you fail to recycle them, and they end up in landfills. As such, you are wondering how best to avoid this.

Guess what, you can put your toothpaste to other uses. So, are you wondering what these are? Here are some great ways to put your toothpaste tubes to great use.

1. Scissors and Knife Protector

You can always use your empty toothpaste tubes as protectors for your scissors and knife. And this is a great use if you are one to dip your hand into your kitchen drawer frequently and without care.

However, this only works with single knives and not those that comes in a block. Then, what you need to do is cut the cap of the tube. Afterward, wash it and let it dry out completely. You can then place it over the knife.

2. Pen Holder

You can also use a toothpaste tube to hold your pen. It is an excellent option whether in your workstation at home or in your office. Just like above, you will need to cut off its cap and clean it. Then, you can place your pens there.

3. Accessories Holder

Guess what. You do not have to stop at only using your used toothpaste tube to house your pen. You can also use it to house other accessories. All you will need to do is follow the same approach above. Then, you get yourself something like a homemade purse.

4. Money Hider

If you are trying to get all creative, you can use your used toothpaste tube to stash money. In this case, you will not need to cut the cap off. In fact, you need its cap on.

So, what you will need to do is ensure your tube is clean and dry. Then, you can roll up your money and put them inside the tube. Then, when you are ready to get your money, you cut the tube open.

5. Icing Tube

Another use that you can apply your used toothpaste tube to is for frosting. With our scissors and knife protector recommendation below, you already know that your tube can be of use in the kitchen. Now it is time to go one further.

All you will need to do is cut off the bottom area. Then, ensure you wash it thoroughly. You can then fill the toothpaste tube with homemade icing. The opening will ensure you can get a great result.


Your toothpaste tubes do not have to be a threat to your environment anymore. Now, you can do better by recycling them. However, this can be quite tricky due to the limited number of recycling centers that accept toothpaste tubes.

Still, that should not stop you from protecting your environment. You can upcycle them and put them to better use. We have shown you how to do that. So, get to it, and have fun protecting the environment.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.