Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday's 3 Rs ... what about that toothpaste tube?

It's Friday. So what does that mean? For one year, it meant we were talking vinegar. Then, for awhile, Fridays were all about recycling, reusing/repurposing, and reducing waste. Then it was back to vinegar again. So what about today? Well, I decided to resurrect Friday's 3Rs this week to address a dilemma I faced last night: what to do with used up tubes of toothpaste. As I squeezed the last bit of paste onto my toothbrush, I stood there holding the tube, not wanted to mindlessly toss it in the wastebasket. But, quite honestly, I didn't know if there was an alternative.

I got up this morning with a mission to find out what others did. Here's what I discovered:

This subject is discussed much online. Click here for a link to some comments about what other, perhaps more creative than me, do with theirs, such as making jewelry, using for cake decorating, keeping money hidden, etc. Note the company in the Philippines is no longer taking toothpaste tubes, unfortunately.

I found this video from a company in Brazil that is using old toothpaste tubes to make roofing tiles and school desks. Love it!! Here's what Sebastiao Rufino Barbosa says on the video about what they're doing: "There is an interesting ecological feature. If I used wood, I would be taking it from forests and would not replace it. Here I am using what would be considered garbage. The forest is thanking me and, in the same time, we are using an environment friendly material." The forest is thanking me.  Isn't that a great line?! According to an article n, "The program is now diverting over 17 metric tons annually of Unilever's toothpaste tube packaging volume." No matter how hard I tried, however, I could not find any information on how to get the tubes to them, which, even if I'd found out, would prove to be non cost-effective nor eco-friendly.

Back to the crafty stuff, for those of you who are so inclined ... and have the time! Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make a toothbrush (or pencil) holder out of used toothpaste tubes.

Terracycle upcycles Colgate products, including the toothpaste tubes, into backpacks and other products, but I simply refuse to use Colgate toothpaste, so it's a moot point in my house.

I checked for any recycling centers in my area that take toothpaste tubes. No luck. Then I started typing in random states. Still no luck. Not even in California! Bottom line for uncrafty and time-challenged me -- the tube's going in the wastebasket. I just can't find a viable alternative. If you know of one, please let me know!

Trying to keep it out of the landfill,


P.S. Can't go without a vinegar tip! After all, it is Vinegar Friday! Sanitize your toothbrush weekly by filling a small cup with distilled white vinegar and soak your toothbrush (bristle side down) overnight. Rinse well. Won't it feel good knowing a week's worth of germs is eradicated in a matter of hours?


  1. That is something I never thought about. I like crafts, so I'll have to check out the pencil holder. I found your buisness card in the local book store. I will be coming back to visit again.

  2. How lovely, Tanya. I'm glad you checked GG out!


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