Used toothbrushes wanted

Students asking for used toothbrushes and votes in a nationwide competition diverting thousands of plastic products from landfill

Students at Leichhardt Public School are leading the war on waste by being in the top 100 of over 1000 schools in a nationwide competition to recycle the most oral care waste. To help them win they’re asking their community to hand over their old toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss containers and vote online for their school.

Run by Colgate, Chemist Warehouse and global recycling pioneers, TerraCycle, the Colgate Community Garden Challenge invites all pre, primary, intermediate, special and secondary schools in Australia to register, collect and ship all their oral care waste to TerraCycle who will turn it into new products.

A total of five schools will win a community garden set – three schools who collect the most waste and earn the most votes online and the other two winning schools will be drawn from a prize draw. There will also be seven monthly prize draws awarding the monthly winner with 60 upcycled pencil cases (valued at $340.80). Schools who sign up late still have a chance to win as long as they send in at least one shipment between now and September.

Each recycled community garden set awarded to the five winning schools will include: three garden beds, two custom-made benches, three customised garden plaques made from recycled oral care waste, plus a $500 Bunnings Warehouse voucher you can use to buy seeds and plants (Total RRP $33,677.15). Besides showing how recycled materials can be used as a sustainable alternative to virgin plastic, Colgate, Chemist Warehouse and TerraCycle hope the community garden sets will promote gardening and healthy eating among schools.

Katie Harford from Leichhardt Public School said the competition was a fantastic platform for the school to do their part in creating a brighter and more sustainable future for their students.

“Keeping waste out of landfill and eventually the oceans was our inspiration to join TerraCycle! Anything we can do to recycle these materials helps the planet and our children’s future on it!

Leichhardt residents are encouraged to drop their used oral care products off and vote for the school online at

So far in the competition, 50,000 votes have been cast online and more than 82,000 pieces of oral care waste have been shipped to TerraCycle. TerraCycle will then sort, shred, wash and melt the waste down into plastic pellets to be used in the manufacture of new products such as garden beds, park benches and playgrounds.

Colgate Vice President and General Manager of South Pacific, Julie Dillon, and Chemist Warehouse Group COO, Mario Tascone, have expressed their excitement.

“So far in the competition, Colgate has been very encouraged to see the students’ recycling efforts and enthusiasm to promote sustainability within their community. We would like to thank all the participants and wish them the very best of luck,” said Mrs Dillon.

“Chemist Warehouse is thrilled to see the remarkable progress of the Colgate Community Garden Challenge in schools across the country, with 40,000 pieces of oral care waste already collected and as a result diverted from landfill,” said Mr Tascone. “We’re proud of all the hard work going in to recycling oral care waste that would otherwise be destined for landfill.”

“At TerraCycle, we love promoting ways to keep ‘non-recyclable’ items out of landfill,” Jean Bailliard, General Manager of TerraCycle Australia & New Zealand, said. “By giving Australian kids the chance to take the lead in recycling on behalf of their school and community, we’re getting them to think outside the box and, at the same time, encouraging sustainability for the future.”


The results achieved from last years’ Colgate Community Garden Challenge saw an incredible 200,000 pieces of oral care waste diverted from landfill, 813 schools signed up to the program and 78,000 votes entered online supporting local schools.


To join the competition, schools are encouraged to visit register, access posters and resources to get started and watch their competition ranking on a digital leaderboard. Individuals can also vote for their nominated school at The competition closes on 30/9/19.


The Recycling Program

The Colgate Community Garden Challenge is part of the broader Oral Care Recycling Program sponsored by Colgate. Accepted in this program are any brand of post-consumed toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes (including electric toothbrush heads) and packaging, toothbrush and toothpaste tube outer packaging and floss containers.

Since its launch in 2014, the Oral Care Recycling Program has enabled Australians to divert over 700,000 pieces of oral care waste from landfill and raise over $50,000 in donations and prizes for schools and charities. To find out how to get involved in the program head to sign up to recycle oral care waste from home or in your community.