Are Plastic Tubes Recyclable?

Are Plastic Tubes Recyclable?

Manufacturers and consumers have a role to play in reducing solid waste.

Owl in a Towel’s sugarcane tubes are different from petroleum-based tubes and laminate tubes in a number of ways.

Our tubes are derived from sugarcane ethanol. This ethanol produces polyethylene, a single-source plastic which is completely recyclable.

Tubes in particular have been highly problematic because this packaging is often made from petrochemical-based, virgin plastic and produced by blending different plastics. Tubes have intensively used fossil fuels and been difficult to recycle. 

All too often, companies do not clearly indicate on their packaging what type of plastics their tubes are made from, or whether their tubes and caps are recyclable. Many twist up and roll on deodorant containers are also a mix of plastics and therefore not recyclable.

Manufacturing sugarcane tubes results in a net reduction in greenhouse gases. Growing sugarcane captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That sugarcane is processed into resin for tube manufacturing. The captured carbon is "locked" into the produced tubes. If the tubes are recycled, there is a sustainable loop.

Unlike fossil fuels used to make traditional plastics, sugarcane is a renewable resource. Notably, the land this sugarcane grows on is preexisting, fallow, agricultural land. No forests have been cleared or arable land overtaken for sugarcane production.

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