'DROP SWAP SMILE' initiative to help divert toothbrushes from landfill

Veolia Australia and New Zealand

Tuesday, 05 October, 2021

'DROP SWAP SMILE' initiative to help divert toothbrushes from landfill

Oral-B has announced the launch of DROP SWAP SMILE — a nationwide initiative with Veolia and Shaver Shop that gives Australians a new way to dispose of their used toothbrushes more sustainably.

The initiative aims to reduce the number of manual and electric toothbrushes that end up in landfill. The pilot program will run for a period of three months.

“Every year, millions of toothbrushes are tossed in the garbage bin because they can’t be recycled at home through regular kerbside recycling. That’s millions of toothbrushes that are making their way to landfill.” Zulfiqar Mahar, Vice President of Marketing and Commercial Operations at P&G ANZ, said.

“Backed by Veolia’s expertise in e-waste recycling and innovative end-of-life solutions, DROP SWAP SMILE gives Australians a new way to dispose of their old toothbrushes and divert them from landfill.”

Veolia aims to recycle clean, uncontaminated electronic components as e-waste. Plastic components that are non-recyclable will be subjected to thermal treatment, with only residual ash being sent to landfill. The percentage recycled will depend on the recycling market at the time, as well as the condition of the waste materials.

Australians can participate in the program through Shaver Shop stores around Australia until 31/12/21 or for online shoppers with an envelope and pre-paid postage label via shavershop.com.au until 31/12/21.1 The following used items will be accepted and processed via the program, regardless of brand:

  • Manual toothbrushes
  • Electric toothbrush handles, chargers and brush heads

Participants are asked to thoroughly wash the items beforehand to help ensure the waste stream remains clean, so the items are eligible for processing and recycling.

Ross Drummett, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Veolia, said: “Toothbrushes are considered hard to recycle because they require dedicated sorting processes to separate and treat the materials they’re made of. As household collections don’t allow for this, it’s crucial that Australia adopts innovative disposal schemes that capture hard-to-recycle items separately, where they can be recycled and treated properly, instead of ending up in landfills.

“Working closely with Oral-B and Shaver Shop, our team of experts will collect, sort and process used toothbrushes, ensuring their parts are either recycled or diverted from landfill. The individual efforts of consumers who use this program will make a big collective difference. We hope that many people get involved and join us on the journey towards ecological transformation.”

Part of the P&G family, Oral-B is working towards the company’s Ambition 2030 targets. This includes driving a more circular economy with the goal of helping prevent plastic waste and other packaging from finding its way into the ocean, by collaborating with local partners like Veolia and committing to global efforts as part of The Alliance to End Plastic Waste. Making packaging more sustainable is also a focus, as the company works towards the goal of making 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030.

The new Oral-B DROP SWAP SMILE initiative started 20 September 2021.

1. This offer is not available to residents of South Australia due to regulations that prohibit the unlicensed transport of waste, inter- and intra-state.

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