Spotlight on Sugarcane-Based Toothpaste Tube

Free-from oral care company Spotlight meets its goal of providing 100% recyclable packaging for its line of toothpaste, using biopolymer tubes made from sugarcane-based polyethylene.

According to a number of sources, it’s estimated that 400 million toothpaste tubes in the U.S. and 1.5 billion globally are discarded in landfills every year. Among the oral care companies leading the charge to change this is Spotlight Oral Care. Based in Ireland and launched in 2016 by practicing cosmetic dentists and sisters Dr. Lisa and Dr. Vanessa Creaven, Spotlight has a goal to revolutionize the oral care industry by creating a range of products that are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, free from toxins, ocean safe, and 100% recyclable.

With its toothpaste tubes, Spotlight has met the goal of 100% recyclability by using Braskem’s I’m green™ brand of bio-based polyethylene, a drop-in bioplastic that provides the same functionality as petroleum-based plastics, including 100% recyclability.

Says Dr. Lisa Creaven, “Generic toothpaste tubes are made from a combination of materials, including crude oil and aluminum, which makes them non-recyclable. Sugarcane is one of the greatest carbon sinks that exists, metabolizing CO2 as it grows and regenerating itself from its own roots. Grown in Brazil using fair labor, each ton of Green Polyethylene produced captures up to 3.09 tons of CO2, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our tubes are fully recyclable and won’t end up contaminating our precious oceans.”


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The biopolymer tube is being used for Spotlight’s line of five toothpaste varieties, each formulated for a specific concern, for example, cavities, bad breath, gum health, and others. The 3.5-oz package is decorated by offset printing, with a crisp, white background and color coding with pastel colors to differentiate the varieties. The tube uses a polypropylene cap supplied by Witoplast.

Spotlight also considered the sustainability of the secondary and tertiary packaging for the toothpaste as well. Explains Dr. Vanessa Creaven, “Our toothpaste tubes are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard packaging and are delivered in a 100% biodegradable mailer bag that can be directly deposited into a compost bin. Also, when ordering online, we offer customers a choice at checkout whether to go with or without the cardboard packaging.”

And Spotlight’s focus on eco-conscious packaging doesn’t end there. For example, its whitening products and for some product bundles, Spotlight uses a 100% recyclable aluminum canister, and for a pack of tooth whitening strips for men, it uses a cloth pouch with drawstring. Its products are eco-friendly as well, including a bamboo toothbrush and dental floss made from 100% recycled PET bottles. It also offers a Dental Aligner Recycling Program, where consumers can ship the company all brands of aligners, and Spotlight will handle the recycling.


   Watch Spotlight's video, "The Life of a Toothpaste Tube"

Say Spotlight’s founders, conveying the benefits of its unique range of sustainable products and packaging—such as a plant-based plastic tube—requires consumer education. Sustainability is a significant part of Spotlight Oral Care, and we do our best to educate our consumers on the ‘why’ behind our sustainable packaging and beliefs,” they explain. “We recently shared our efforts with our community by launching videos showcasing the life span of a toothpaste tube, as well as how our Dental Floss, made up of ​​100% recycled plastic bottles, is created. In addition, over the span of August, we rolled out various marketing emails, including statistics and polls, informing customers on topics such as animal testing and encouraging engagement with prizes. We plan to continue to release education materials, as well as have conversations around the importance of sustainability in the oral care industry.”

Spotlight Oral Care products are available in the U.K., Ireland, and the U.S., through the company’s website and other e-commerce sites, including CVS.com, Target.com, and Amazon. They can also be found in select Ulta Beauty and CVS retail stores.


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