These days, almost everything we touch is...or once was….packaged. Wherever you may be right now, take a look at the items around you. How many of them were once packaged?
As consumers, it’s easy to buy a product...or even look at a product...without thinking twice about its packaging. But in recent years, that’s exactly what we’ve started to do. We (brands like Davids and consumers like you) have started to seriously think about the packaging we use and consume...and for good reason!
We’re talking about all things sustainable packaging:
- Why is sustainable packaging more important than ever?
- What does Davids use as sustainable toothpaste packaging?
- Which online collectives offer household products in sustainable packaging?
But above all, we’re discussing it from a hopeful perspective. As humans, we may have created the unsustainable-packaging-problem, but that means we’re more than capable of fixing it too!
why is sustainable packaging important?
We touched on this topic a bit in our last article (what is sustainability?)...the waste generated by consumerism has reached catastrophic levels. A massive portion of this waste comes from packaging...specifically plastic packaging.
Because of plastic’s massive role in every industry these days, a lot of us can’t really imagine what life would look like without it completely. But when you think about it, plastic hasn’t been around very long...which is kinda scary to think about considering all the damage it’s already caused.
So...when did plastic become popular? Here’s a brief timeline of plastic’s claim to fame:
- 1869: The first “successful” plastic (celluloid) was developed in the U.S.
- 1930s: The plastic industry started to gain traction, and plastic giants were fiercely competing to develop the best products.
- 1939-1945: During World War II, plastic served a huge role in military supply chains. During this time, plastic production in the U.S. tripled.
- 1950s: The domestication of plastic. With the help of creative marketing for products like Tupperware, plastics made their way into homes.
Because plastic is cheap, durable, and easy-to-use...it naturally began to take over the consumer market. Eventually.....plastics began to pile up, the public began to demand plastic recycling, scientists began to investigate the toxicity+wastefulness of plastics, and environmentalists began to seriously worry.
Alas, here we are:
- Globally, humans produce 380 million tons of plastic every year.
- It’s estimated that 50% of these annual plastics are single-use plastics.
- Roughly 91% of plastics are never recycled.
- Over 10 million tons of plastic make their way into our oceans every year.
- Because of plastic’s long lifespan, every single piece of plastic ever made still exists today.
With the rise of online shopping, packaging has become even more of a sustainability concern. In a world where you can get anything from meal kits to toothpaste delivered to your doorstep, packaging has taken on an entirely new role. In 2020, it’s estimated that online sales grew a massive 44%, making sustainable packaging more critical than ever.
As an environmentally friendly toothpaste brand, we want to make sure we’re doing our part to spread awareness about the need for sustainable packaging and practice what we preach. So, here are some of the ways we make use of innovative, sustainable packaging at Davids.
Davids toothpaste sustainable packaging
recyclable aluminum tube
Our sustainable toothpaste tube is made from aluminum metal and lined with a food-grade, non-BPA liner is fully recyclable. This way, we get all the benefits of metal (over plastic) without any contact between the metal and your natural toothpaste.
Why aluminum? Well, aluminum not only effectively maintains the freshness of your natural toothpaste...
It also allows us to avoid contributing to the 1.5 billion plastic toothpaste tubes that end up in landfills every single year. Aluminum is one of the highest-value, easiest materials to recycle...while maintaining its quality and durability! On top of that:
- Aluminum can be recycled+reprocessed into new aluminum in just 60 days.
- Of all the aluminum produced in the U.S., nearly 75% of it is still being used today due to its recyclability.
- Recycled aluminum saves over 90% of the energy needed to produce virgin aluminum.
On top of these encouraging facts about aluminum, using a metal toothpaste tube allows you to squeeze out as much of your natural toothpaste as possible.
This brings us to our next point….don’t forget to clean out our aluminum tube before recycling it! We realize this requires a little work on your end, but trust us...we really appreciate it...and so does the planet. To recycle your Davids tube:
- Cut the tube (length-wise) with kitchen scissors.
- Open up the tube carefully (the aluminum edges can be sharp).
- Clean out the inside...we recommend using a toothbrush so you can use every last bit.
- Once the tube is clean, recycle it with the rest of your curbside recyclables.
Thank you for helping us make sure that our aluminum remains in-use and make our toothpaste eco packaging first class!
metal tube roller (tube key)
Our tube key helps you to squeeze as much toothpaste as possible out of your Davids tube, so they come in every box. The keys are made of mild steel, so they are recyclable. But there’s actually no need to recycle them...here’s why:
- If you collect 20 tube keys and send them back to us, you’ll receive one free tube of Davids Natural Toothpaste. For more information on returning, please visit the Tube Key Return Program section of our FAQ page.
- The rollers can be used with any other metal tubes you may have...such as skincare+clean beauty products, ointments, and more.
However, if you have no further use for the tube key, and you know you won’t be collecting 20 in the future...you can put it in your recycling bin. Like aluminum, mild steel is a very recycle-friendly material.
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment actually states that the steel industry has been collecting data for steel products for 20+ years....to determine its environmental performance from production to end-of-life. The results show that it has enormous potential due to its recyclable nature, and it’s being noticed as an essential material for a circular economy.
Note: you can opt-out of receiving a tube key with your Davids package by entering ***REMOVE TUBE KEYS*** on line 2 of your address field at checkout.
recyclable plastic cap
Our toothpaste cap is made from virgin-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE) which is recyclable.
Okay...we know you must be wondering, “How could they use a plastic cap knowing all that bad stuff about plastic that they just mentioned above?” Valid question...but hear us out.
HDPE plastic is actually a somewhat sustainable material...especially in the world of plastics. Remember how we said that every single piece of plastic ever made still exists on the planet today? We’re using that existing plastic to make ours...because it’s not just going to disappear.
HDPE plastic is made from post-consumer materials. Because of its durability and recyclability, it’s one of the most versatile building materials on the market. Once you recycle it, it’s cleaned, separated, shredded down/melted, and reshaped.
While we firmly believe in reducing the use of single-use and virgin plastics, we also believe in making use of the plastic waste that already exists....helping to lessen the problem, not add to it.
Note: local recycling programs have their own preferences on recycling small plastic objects like caps, so be sure to ask yours whether caps are accepted before trying to recycle them.
Note: you can opt-out of receiving plastic caps with your Davids package by entering ***REMOVE CAP*** on line 2 of your address field at checkout. You can opt-out of the tube key+cap together by entering ***REMOVE TUBE KEY/CAP***.
FSC certified paperboard packaging
At Davids, we use only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard to package our toothpaste. The FSC certification ensures that the paper comes from responsibly managed forests that meet several criteria...promoting economic, social, and environmental benefits, such as:
- Forest management that conserves biological diversity
- Regenerative practices that ensure harvested trees are replaced/regenerated
- Close monitoring that continuously audits the conditions of the forest
- Honors and protects indigenous peoples’ rights
- Promotes the wellbeing of workers and communities involved
You can read more about the FSC principles+criteria here. In short, FSC certified paper does not contribute to deforestation, and of course...it’s recyclable.
other sustainable packaging trailblazers
Zero Waste Cartel
Zero Waste Cartel is all about making it fun to reduce your waste and environmental impact. Despite their name, they don’t expect everyone to be perfectly zero waste...instead, they encourage small, positive steps...and spreading the knowledge! They ship Davids in mailers made from 100% recycled cardboard with biodegradable packing peanuts.
Package Free Shop
Package Free Shop is on a mission to “make the world less trashy” and provide everyone access to natural, plastic-free products...in a more affordable+convenient way. They believe access to sustainable products+resources is a basic human right, and we couldn’t agree more! Read more about their plastic-free, carbon-neutral (and more) principles here.
EarthHero’s mission is to make sustainable shopping easy. Their shipping processes are always carbon neutral. Each product on their shop has a “Sustainability Features” section that highlights the details about the product from ingredients to packaging.
commitment is key
Lucky for us all, just as we allowed plastics to take over, we can help sustainable packaging take over too. At Davids, we’re committed to sustainability every step of the way when packaging toothpaste. We’re also committed to continuously exploring new techniques for things like sustainable packaging and beyond....and sharing what we learn with you all!
With that, we hope to inspire you to learn about sustainable alternatives yourselves...and seek out products with sustainable packaging whenever possible. Together, we can work to rid our planet of plastics for good.