Sustainable packaging: Flexible package recycles toothbrush

Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor

January 30, 2014

3 Min Read
Sustainable packaging: Flexible package recycles toothbrush

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Those are the principles that have driven Preserve® since the company was founded in 1996, and that motivate the company to encourage more households to choose its 100-percent recycled and recyclable products over conventional products.

“Preserve makes stylish, high performance, eco-friendly products for the home,” says John Lively, director, environment and material sciences. “As a company, we strive to combine socially and environmentally responsible business practices with groundbreaking design to create products that people feel good about having in their homes. We believe that choosing eco-friendly products doesn’t mean having to sacrifice quality, price or performance.”

In 1996, founder and president Eric Hudson was committed to the need to use Earth’s resources more efficiently and responsibly. The developing plastic recycling market represented a great new opportunity to reuse the Earth’s resources, so Hudson started Preserve to reuse these resources and turn them back into products that people wanted. He worked with dentists, scientists and engineers to create Preserve’s first high-quality product from recycled plastics—the Preserve toothbrush.

Since then, Preserve has grown into a dynamic, green-lifestyle company offering a range of everyday products for almost every room in the home. It turns PP into razors, colanders, cutting boards, tableware and more. Preserve’s plastic products are made from PP collected from individuals via its Gimme 5 program and from companies such as Stonyfield Farm®, with whom it has partnered to keep (literally) tons of plastic out of landfills.

In fact, the Preserve toothbrush handle is made from 100 percent recycled plastic, mostly recycled yogurt cups. According to Preserve, compared to virgin PP, its recycled plastic requires at least 54 percent less water, 64 percent  less greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents), 75 percent less oil, 48 percent less coal, 77 percent less natural gas and 46 percent less electricity.

In 2009, Preserve again achieved a first in the industry, when it introduced its Mail Back Pack, which is the first and only flexible package in the toothbrush market. Other brands continue to be marketed with difficult-to-open rigid plastic packaging. Instead, Preserve’s package distinguishes itself by being easy to open and showcasing a life-size toothbrush on the exterior. In addition, the package doubles as a postage-paid return-mail envelope for Preserve’s recycling program.

Using a pouch instead of hard molded plastic reduces the amount of material needed to produce this package. This leads to less waste and improved shipping efficiencies. Having the consumer reuse the same packaging to recycle the toothbrush reduces the environmental impact of the product as well as the packaging. The package is made of a flexo printed, matte-finish, multi-layered lamination from Printpack Inc. It is produced in Printpack’s Shreveport, LA plant.

FPA award
The awarded Printpack a 2010 FPA silver award for packaging excellence for the Preserve toothbrush package. According to FPA: “The Preserve toothbrush pouch is totally unique in the marketplace. It differentiates itself from the competition by virtue of its unusual package design, as well as its second life as a postage-paid return mailer that encourages its users to recycle. This is product protection with a conscience and showcases Reduce-Reuse-Recycle at its best.”

 “We consulted closely with dental professionals to create a toothbrush that gets your teeth cleaner, but minimizes your impact on the environment,” says Lively. “The design includes a curved handle for those hard-to-reach places and a three-level bristle arrangement to massage your gums. And while the bristles are brand new, the handle is made from recycled yogurt cups.

“The Mail Back Pack is a revolutionary approach to packaging,” he adds. “The lightweight package doubles as a return envelope. Just pop your used Preserve toothbrush inside and send it back to us for recycling. You can also recycle it via our Gimme 5 program. Our goal is to get 100 percent of our toothbrushes back, so we can recycle that material into new products.”

More information is available
Printpack Inc., 800/451-9985,


About the Author(s)

Jack Mans

Plant Operations Editor

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