The Story Behind Preserve's Toothbrush Takeback

Since 1996, Preserve has paid over $750,000 in postage to cover the mail back of our products for recycling, in partnership with the US Postal Service.  We believe in the importance of recycling and believe that small actions can have big impacts.  Over the past 17 years, postage rates have continued to rise but we have continued to offer mail-back as a recycling option for our products.  We have also worked together with partners and in 2009 we developed a retail take back system to collect #5 products and our used Preserve products – The Gimme 5 Program.   We aspire to a 100% recycling rate of our toothbrushes but given the increased costs, we cannot achieve this if we continue to offer a postage paid return option.

Since Gimme 5 bins are the most efficient way to recycle your toothbrush, we ask that you consider the Gimme 5 bin as your first option.  If you do not have a bin near you, and you want to recycle your Preserve toothbrushes through the mail, we now ask that you do this using your own postage.  We have set up a program that gives you free product to cover your postage and we believe that this incentivizes bulk shipments.  If you mail one toothbrush, it will cost $2.32.  If you mail six toothbrushes, it will cost $2.50.  Since we reward you with $1 toward a coupon for Preserve’s online store for every toothbrush that you mail back, it simply makes sense to bundle your toothbrushes together and save on postage.

History & The Difference We Are Making Together

Since our company’s beginnings in 1996, we’ve asked you to help us close the loop on our products:  “Send your Preserve toothbrushes back to us, and we’ll recycle them into a new life.”  

The forms that Preserve toothbrush recycling has taken:

  • We started (1996) with a postage-paid mailer available in Preserve displays at our retailers.  
  • In 2005, we introduced an online printable postage-paid label.  
  • In 2008, we developed a retail-based takeback system for our products and any clean, stamped #5 plastic – our popular Gimme 5 program.  
  • In 2009, we transformed the package of the Preserve toothbrush to double as a postage-paid mailer.
  • In 2012, we introduced the “Bottleship” and began encouraging toothbrush recyclers to mail their toothbrushes in bulk.
  • In 2014, we are launching a program which asks recyclers to mail their toothbrushes in bulk and pay the postage.  We compensate them for their postage with coupons to the Preserve online store.

We’re serious about taking back our products, and we do it simply because it is the right thing to do. 
We do not make any more profit when we take back and recycle our products.  But each time we recycle a Preserve toothbrush, 15 grams (0.529 ounces) of plastic are given a new life and 15 grams of plastic do not have to be manufactured from Earth’s non-renewable resources. Gram by gram, we are saving the water, energy, oil, and natural gas that it takes to make virgin plastics.

And, while we’re happy to give our toothbrush a new life, the environmental benefit of recycling a toothbrush is a small step amongst many steps needed to reduce our impact.  But it is not fruitless work for us or for you.  Together we’re helping to create systemic change.

By taking back our toothbrush for so many years we’ve learned a lot about takeback.  So much so, that some other companies have started to ask for our help.  In 2002, Stonyfield asked us to help recycle their yogurt cups.  In 2008, Brita asked us to help recycle their water filters.  In 2012, we started helping Keurig and the folks at Green Mountain recycle their new coffee pods.  Yogurt cups, coffee pods, water filters, toothbrushes… now we are starting to get somewhere.

A little thing can lead to big changes when the reason behind why you do it is the right one.  

We encourage you to write to us with questions about this change.  You can reach us at or call us at 888-354-7296.