According to Colgate-Palmolive, more than 495 million adult manual toothbrushes were purchased in the U.S. in 2020 and likely will end up in landfills because they cannot be easily recycled. This statistic has prompted the company to reinvent the manual toothbrush.
Colgate Keep is designed with a snap-on replaceable brush head and a reusable aluminum handle. It contains 80 percent less plastic compared with similarly sized Colgate toothbrushes. The brush is available online and at national retailers.
Given their small size and mix of materials and the limitations in municipal recycling capabilities, toothbrushes are not accepted in residential recycling programs. While the company has been partnering with TerraCycle for 10 years to recycle more than 5 million toothbrushes and other oral care items, it says Keep provides an easier solution.
As part of Colgate's 2025 Sustainability & Social Impact Strategy, the company says it wants to reduce the amount of toothbrush plastic waste by half. Additionally, Colgate says it will eliminate one-third of new plastics used in its packaging as part of the transition to 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025.
"The Colgate brand is in more homes than any other, so we can and we will create a healthier, more sustainable future for all,” says Dana Medema, vice president and general manager at Colgate-Palmolive. “That's why in Colgate's 2025 sustainability goals, we pledge to reduce plastic waste from toothbrushes by 50 percent. The launch of Keep is just one step towards our goal, with 80 percent less plastic versus comparable Colgate toothbrushes. We know we have many more strides to make towards a zero-waste toothbrush future and are proud to be starting here.”