Your guide to natural and organic living

Toms of Maine

September 15, 2008


Tom’s Of Maine was formed in 1968 when Tom and Kate Chappell moved to Kennebunk in Maine with the goal of “moving back to the land”. They began living on simple and unprocessed food but had trouble finding natural products to use. After getting a $5000 loan, they decided to create and sell their own products. The first product they created was a non-phosphate liquid laundry detergent (Clearlake) which had a “post back” label so they could be refilled and then returned back to the customer. In the first 5 years of their company they developed products for the home and natural body care products, including the first natural toothpaste. This range gradually progressed to mouthwash, soap and deodorant and first two major shops to stock their products were Progressive Distributors and CVS.

Colgate Palmolive partnership

In March 2006, Tom’s announced a decision to enter a partnership with Colgate-Palmolive.

Key information about the new partnership:

  • Tom and Kate will continue to hold CEO and Vice President positions
  • They will keep a ‘minority ownership’ in Tom’s Of Maine – Colgate bought 84% of the company
  • They signed the deal because they were unable to meet the growing demands for these products without the help of a larger partner
  • Tom’s Of Maine say this partnership will mean they can grow faster
  • The decision was partly about ‘broading their reach’
  • They will continue to give 10% of what they earn to community efforts and 5% for employee time for volunteering
  • Growth opportunities for both companies: Colgate is the leader of oral care, Tom’s is the leader of natural oral-care.
  • Tom’s Of Maine has sold itself to Colgate-Palmolive for $100 million


Tom’s Of Maine create a variety of products including deodorants, toothpaste (both fluoride and fluoride free), soaps and mouthwash. All of their products are made in Maine apart from their soaps (made in New England) and their liquid soaps (made in Canada). Some toothpastes and flossing products are their only non vegan products because they contain beeswax and/or propolis.


Tom’s of Maine products are free from:

  • GMO ingredients
  • Parabens
  • Artificial colours, flavours or preservatives
  • Sacharin or sweetners that are commonly used in toothpaste products
  • Alcohol (mouthwashes)
  • Soaps are EDTA free

Ethics, values and principles

Cruelty free – No Tom’s Of Maine products or ingredients have been tested on animals.

Renewable energy – Since 2006 100% of the factory’s electricity consumption has been provided by wind energy. They also purchase hydro and biomass to power their offices. Both the factory and the warehouses use sensor-controlled fluorescent lighting which means they only use what they need to.

Preserving green areas – In 2006, the Mousam River Wildlife Sanctuary was created after Tom’s donated 38 acres of the land to the Kennebunk Land Trust.

Social responsibility – Running a financially successful company whilst behaving in a socially responsible way towards people, animals and the environment. This includes environmentally friendly packaging, creating safe products and using sustainable harvesting methods.


The materials most used for Tom’s Of Maine packaging are:

  • Polypropylene 5 or Polypropylene 2 for containers and caps
  • Recycled/Recyclable paperboard – 40-65% post consumer for boxes
  • Recycled/Recyclable paper – 100% post consumer for inserts and leaflets
  • Recyclable aluminium tubes for their toothpastes – these can be put in with aluminium cans for recycling
  • Biodegradable cellulose (made from wood pulp) for the inner soap wrappers to keep moisture out and fragrance oils in
  • PETE 1 and HDPE 2 for bottle
  • Graphics and information are printed on using vegetable based inks
  • Their deodorant sticks are made from only Polypropylene 5 so they are fully recyclable.