Stop the Presses!
Yes, I know that if you use Crest or Colgate, this is nothing new. But for years, Tom’s of Maine packaged their paste in recyclable aluminum.
The problem? While it might have been a good idea at its inception in the 1970s, in the 2010s things have changed:
- Consumers complained about leaking tubes.
- Recycling companies wouldn’t accept the tubes for recycling
- Non-deposit aluminum recycling opportunities have decreased.
Why do I know this? I read the Tom’s of Maine Blog, which says:
In 2011 Tom’s of Maine began packaging its toothpaste in plastic “laminate” tubes rather than the aluminum tubes that were part of the brand for many years.
We made the decision to switch after giving the subject lengthy, holistic consideration which included taking into account current practices of manufacturing and recycling and, most importantly, your overwhelming feedback. (Source: Tom’s of Maine)
Not only do they reference their decision process they make an environmental appeal for the change:
In 2007 Tom’s of Maine began the in-depth process to assess options for a better package alternative for our toothpaste.
In our evaluations we made sure to consider both the feedback you provided on tube usability and product waste as well as the values based Stewardship Model that has guided our decisions for many years and continues to do so today.
The results of our investigation, including consumer home-use testing among current Tom’s of Maine users like you as well as a critical review of our packaging and its projected sustainability and environmental impact, indicate:
- Plastic Laminate tubes outperform aluminum tubes in both ease of use and our Stewardship Model beliefs;
- Current Tom’s of Maine toothpaste users — and potential users — participating in testing significantly preferred plastic laminate tubes over aluminum tubes;
- The lighter plastic laminate material reduced tube weight by nearly half — which saves energy when shipping tubes.
- Manufacturing plastic laminate tubes requires less energy than the manufacture of aluminum tubes. (Source: Tom’s of Maine)
Why Does This Matter?
Tom’s of Maine was smart. As they introduced the change they explained it in all their media. Why? They know their customers.
There’s a key to marketing.
What other consumer product changes have you seen?
Were they well-managed? As a consumer are you happy with the change, or at the very least does it make sense to you?
Tell me about it!