Packaging plays a key role in delivering consumer health products to customers and consumers safely, ensuring a product’s effectiveness for its full shelf life. But globally, packaging waste poses significant challenges for the environment. 

We’re committed to making our packaging more sustainable. To do this, we’re working to move to a more circular model, making our packaging recycle-ready as a first step towards our ultimate objective of making all our packaging recyclable or reusable. But we can’t do it alone. We’re working with partners to drive global and local initiatives to improve the recyclability of consumer health product packaging and to pioneer the use of alternative materials for healthcare packaging, including using recycled content, bioplastic and pulp-based alternatives to plastic.

Using 2020 as our baseline, we aim to:

  • Reduce our use of virgin petroleum-based plastic by 10% by 2025, and a third by 2030[1].
  • Develop solutions for all product packaging to be recycle-ready[2] by 2025, as part of our goal to make all packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030[3].
  • Work with partners to drive global and local initiatives to collect, sort and recycle our packaging at scale by 2030.

2022 Performance Highlight:


of our packaging was recycle-ready[4]


We’re aiming to reduce our use of virgin petroleum-based plastic by making our packaging more lightweight and by using alternative materials including recycled and bio-based plastic in our packaging.

We’re also designing and rolling out recycle-ready packaging formats across our portfolio. Making our packaging recycle-ready is a key milestone to achieving recyclability, which we define as consumer health packaging waste being effectively collected, sorted and recycled in at least one region.

We recognise there are challenges associated with the collection and sorting of small-format consumer health packaging. Significant collaboration is needed with stakeholders across the waste management value chain. That’s why we’re working with partners, such as The Sustainability Consortium and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to pioneer and test new technologies to sort and reprocess small packaging formats.

We are a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Network, working with and learning from partners to help accelerate the development and scaling of the circular economy for consumer health product packaging. Having joined the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, we also support global action to address the challenges associated with packaging waste.

Rolling out recycle-ready toothpaste tubes

We are switching our toothpaste tubes from multi-material laminates with an aluminium barrier to solutions using a single material. We partnered with Albea Group to use its Greenleaf 2 laminate tube technology in our Sensodyne, parodontax and Aquafresh toothpaste tubes, which can be recycled wherever collection programmes exist. The move to recycle-ready tubes began with Sensodyne Pronamel tubes in Europe in 2021. We are currently rolling out recycle-ready tubes in all continents. As of June 2023, we had produced over 500 million recycle-ready toothpaste tubes.

Exploring alternatives to virgin petroleum-based plastic packaging

By collaborating with others, we are exploring innovative alternatives to virgin petroleum-based plastic. Working with a consortium of manufacturers, we are the first consumer health business to explore using Pulpex bottles for our wellness and oral health brands. This paper-based material offers an alternative to a plastic or glass bottle, with high recyclability and a lower carbon footprint, while offering the same high-quality appearance and performance. We are also working with the Bottle Collective to explore the feasibility and co-development of another cellulose-based technology as an alternative to virgin petroleum-based plastic.

[1] Baseline reporting period = 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. 

[2] Recycle-ready means packaging that has been developed to be compatible with a targeted existing or emerging recycling infrastructure. By recycling infrastructure, we mean the state-of-the-art technology and operations capable of achieving efficient collection, sorting and processing into recycled material feedstocks.

[3] Where safety, quality and regulations permit.

[4] Reporting period = 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.