Tiny Trash Can TerraCycle oral care recycling program

Recycling oral care products

Have you heard about TerraCycle’s recycling program for oral care products and packaging? They accept any brand, and it’s free in the U.S. 😃

I discovered it last year while researching ways to responsibly dispose of the dental care packaging we’d purchased before starting our zero waste lifestyle. Rather than only recycle my waste, which amounted to a handful of toothpaste tubes, I figured I might as well collect from as many people as possible before sending in my items. I got permission to put a box at my son’s school near our other recycling bins, and we informed families by email about the program. It turned out to be pretty popular! 😳

When the box fills up (twice a school year), I print out a free shipping label and mail the contents to Colgate from the United States (it helps to have friends on the other side of the border 😉). Although my old toothpaste tubes are long gone, I still manage the recycling program for the school. It only takes a few minutes a year, and it keeps these items from going into a landfill 👍

If you live in the U.S., you can sign up for the free program and start collecting at your apartment, school or workplace. And if you live in the Montreal area and would like to participate, send me a private message so we can coordinate a meetup. Our cat Milo would love to receive more boxes of mint-flavored “cat toys”! 😂

Tiny Trash Can TerraCycle oral care recycling program

5 thoughts on “Recycling oral care products”

  1. Perhaps if enough people write to Colgate Canada (www.colgate.ca )asking for this service they may start it here too.

  2. Dear Tippi,

    Firstly, thanks for your efforts at starting this overall initiative on reducing ‘waste’. It is heartening to come across someone talk about it. I would like to share my thoughts and experience as well.

    I think that we can also try to do away (reduce) a lot of plastic from the toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes in the first place. This is what I have tried so far.

    1. Toothbrush – Replaceable head toothbrush like Terradent (https://www.eco-dent.com/terradent-replaceable-head-toothbrushes.html). I got mine from a local store Terra20.

    2. Toothpaste – I have questions about the health impacts of conventional ones. So, for this and environmental reasons, I experiment with homemade substitutes from ingredients that require less waste and I consider safe and healthy.

    Another comment I have about is recycling. Sometimes it is not clear if recycling really helps. The audio conversation in this CBC article is probably one of the best piece I have come across that throws good light on the problems with recycling (https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-april-25-2019-1.5110297/canada-is-in-the-wrong-environmentalists-urge-the-country-to-clear-out-its-trash-from-the-philippines-1.5110324).

    I believe we need to have at least two cans for recycling. First, for the ones that we know for sure will get recycled locally with least consumption and pollution, and second, the ones about which we are highly certain will require greater pollution and consumption than landfilling.

    This latter “second recyling bin” is the one we need to also really make as small as our trash bin, if not smaller. Because, such recycling could anyway become trash (https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-december-26-2017-1.4462065/your-recycling-could-become-trash-the-golden-age-of-recycling-is-coming-to-an-end-1.4462101).

    Best wishes.

    1. Just want to add that the “second recycling bin” is also where we also add the stuff we have no idea how it will be recycled, and of course while leaving it to be as small as our tiny trash can, if not smaller. 🙂

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