A world-first recycling program for electric toothbrushes has launched in Australia, paving the way for more e-waste recycling initiatives to commence. Drawing on the success of their existing recycling solution for all brands of oral care items, Colgate and global recycling pioneers, TerraCycle, have partnered to launch a new program to recycle electric toothbrushes.
The Colgate Electric Toothbrush Recycling Program allows Australians to collect and ship their electric toothbrush bases and handles to TerraCycle, for free. TerraCycle will then disassemble and separate them into their different metal/electrical components, batteries and plastics. The plastics are then shredded and melted into pellets that can be remolded to make new recycled products such as garden beds and park benches, while the metals are separated and recovered.
Electric toothbrushes, along with other forms of e-waste, are extremely hard to recycle due to the difficulty in separating out the materials they are made of. Because of this, they would typically end up in landfill, contributing to the growing problem of e-waste in Australia; the recoverable value of which is in the millions. Thankfully, Colgate are paving the way in terms of product stewardship, by taking responsibility for the environmental impact of all brands of oral care items including electric toothbrushes.
Colgate Vice President and General Manager of South Pacific, Julie Dillon, wanted to express her enthusiasm for offering recycling solutions for oral care products in Australia.
“Drawing on the success of our on-going recycling program for oral care products, we wanted to go one step further and make electric toothbrushes recyclable on a national scale. We’re very excited to be launching this sustainable option, a first-of-its-kind for e-waste, in Australia,” said Mrs Dillon.
Jean Bailliard, General Manager of TerraCycle Australia and New Zealand adds: “TerraCycle has a long-lasting partnership with Colgate and together we have contributed to the recycling of an incredible one million oral care items to date. As part of our mission to eliminate the idea of waste, recycling electric toothbrushes is a big step in the right direction to achieving this goal.”
To recycle in this program, Australians simply visit https://www.terracycle.com/en-AU/brigades/colgateelectric-au to sign up for free, join the program, and then start collecting all brands of electric toothbrush waste in any available cardboard box. Once the box is full, they log back into their TerraCycle account, download and print a pre-paid shipping label and a separate battery hazard label and affix them to their box before dropping it off at their nearest Australia Post. Additionally, for every 1kg of electric toothbrush bases and handles sent to TerraCycle, collectors will earn $1 towards the Australian school or charity of their choice.
The Recycling Program
The Colgate Electric Toothbrush Recycling Program draws on the successes of the broader Oral Care Recycling Program sponsored by Colgate. Accepted in this program are any brand of post-consumed toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes (including electric toothbrush heads) and packaging, toothbrush and toothpaste tube outer packaging and floss containers.
Since its launch in 2014, the Oral Care Recycling Program has enabled Australians to divert one million pieces of oral care waste from landfill and raise over $70,000 in donations and prizes to Australian schools and charities. To find out how to get involved in the program head to www.terracycle.com/en-AU/oral-care-brigade to sign up to recycle oral care waste from home or in your community.
TerraCycle is the world’s leader in the collection and repurposing of complex waste streams, ranging from used cigarette butts to ocean plastic to oral care products and packaging. The waste is collected through manufacturer-funded programs that are free to the public, as well as Zero Waste Boxes that are purchased by end users for recycling from homes, offices, factories and public spaces. The collected waste is converted into a variety of raw materials and made into new products. Across 20 countries, TerraCycle has diverted over seven billion pieces of ‘non-recyclable’ waste from landfill and incineration and raised close to $45 million for schools and charities worldwide.