The tube is an ecological form of packaging and tube manufacturers are dedicated to developing more and more sustainable options for tubes and tube components.
Tubes, all types, have been proven to be recyclable in different waste streams although collection of tubes is not widely recognized in North America. Aluminum tubes, when recycled in an aluminum waste stream can be infinitely recycled without any loss in quality and 95 per cent of the energy stored in the metal is retained.
Plastic , Injection Molded and laminate tubes can also be recycled, either for use in other plastic products or incinerated with recovery of the energy. These tubes are typically made up of different low or high density polyethylene or polypropylene resins and, in the case of laminate tubes, an aluminum foil layer.
The tube industry is in a state of transition. Consumer goods companies are moving many mass marketed products from packaging in extruded plastic tubes to stand-up tubes made with all-plastic laminates or Injection Molded . Stand-up tubes have the advantage of eliminating the corrugate outer carton typically used to package the tube. With this transition, it has been possible to considerably reduce the amount of material used in the tubes and technical advances have allowed tube wall thicknesses to be reduced while maintain the necessary barrier properties to protect the product.
New developments in incorporating Post Consumer Recycled material and Green, bio-based polyethylene / polypropylene in tubes contribute to the improvements in sustainability of tubes. Tube Manufacturers and the supporting industries are working diligently to make improvements and offer more sustainable packages.
Additionally, the Tube Council (NA) is committed as an industry association to support sustainable developments and to work together with recycling associations to have tubes accepted in municipal waste pick-up programs.