[Part 2] Quick ‘waste management' lexicon to find your way in sustainable packaging claims.

Morgane Soret @ 2022-02-22 14:37:08 +0000


The definition according to Cambridge dictionary(1) is: 

(of a substance) able to decay naturally and without harming the environment. 

In depth definition of “to decay naturally” 

Biodegradable materials will decompose under certain weather, water, and oxygen conditions over a period of months to a few years. These materials include organic matter such as food scraps, plant trimmings, paper, wood and grass clippings.

A plastic bottle is the antithesis of biodegradable — it will be there forever.

Key facts

Conventional toothpaste Plastic tubes are NOT biodegradable. It does eventually break down, in about 500 years, into microscopic micro plastics which pollutes the soil and oceans. 

Strictly speaking, glass is not biodegradable either because of the long period of time it takes to break down. However, when it breaks down, it goes back to its natural state sand, without pollution our planet. 



An item is recyclable if it follows these fours stages: collection, sorting, reprocessing, and either re-using in manufacturing or creating another item. An item’s potential to be recycled, doesn’t make it recyclable. Because a material could technically be reprocessed into a new form, it isn’t necessarily recyclable. Even though you could theoretically sell the material to become something new, that doesn’t mean this is what will happen. 

An item can be classed as recyclable if it is highly likely that, if disposed of correctly, it will follow all of those four processes in the majority of communities where the item is sold. This means there should be a company analysis backed with scientifically credible data that there is a high likelihood of the full recycling process occurring. If the package is labelled as recyclable and doesn’t meet that definition, it’s a misleading claim. 

Conventional Plastic Toothpaste tubes are NOT recyclable in most instances because they are made from different layers of plastic and at least one thin layer of metal(2). This means the recycling process is much harder to achieve, and may not be feasible due to a number of reasons including cost.


At NOICE we choose to use glass containers for our dental gel as a sustainable alternative to conventional plastic toothpaste tubes.

(1) Glass is not petroleum based 

(2) The recyclable rate of glass is way higher 

  • US Plastic recycling rate 8.7% (3) and UK Plastic recycling rate 45% (4) vs

  •  US Glass recycling rate 31.3% (5) and UK Glass recycling rate 68.8% (6)

(3) If not recycled glass eventually breaks down to reform as sand.


Compostable can means different things varying from domestic composting to industrial compostability – more about this in our next topic. 

Join us in our mission to clean up the planet & all the teeth in it!



(3) epa.gov
(5) epa.gov