I used to despise going to the dentist, I had braces, retainers, you name it! It was not a pretty sight! Fast forward to today and I must say I have a pretty good smile, thanks, dad! LOL!
Having a great smile gives you so much confidence and a smile can also really brighten someone's day! Taking care of our teeth is good practice for our overall health, and flossing regularly is part of that!
Problem is, that most dental floss is made from plastic (nylon) and coated with nasty chemicals. It makes the option for zero waste floss a no-brainer! Let's break it down even further!
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What's the problem with traditional floss?
Conventional floss is made with nylon, which is a type of plastic. It does not break down and it can't be composted either. So these little fine strings of plastic end up in the garbage polluting our soil and water as they slooooowly break down. Those strands can also harm wildlife.
Some floss is coated with a group of toxic chemicals known PFASs, these are part of a family of chemicals known as perfluorocarbons (PFCs). They are used in everything from cookware to furniture. They are linked to liver disease, cancer, and a slew of other health concerns. PFCs also emit dangerous greenhouse gases into the air.
Think of how many of those little plastic floss containers we toss annually. It's a lot! So you've got the waste from the floss and the packaging it comes in.
If you want to transition to a zero-waste bathroom sustainable floss is one way to start.
How to choose a good zero waste floss
Before zero waste floss hit the market, plastic-free foss was typically made from silk, which came from the silkworms that were boiled alive while still in their cocoons. A horrid practice! Peace silk, another popular choice, involves cutting the cocoon and letting the moth fly out, however it's a very complicated process and one that can't guarantee the moth is not harmed in the process.
I talk a lot about ingredients on The Eco Hub and when it comes to clean beauty, I follow a pretty clear set of rules, which include:
1. Is it local?
How far is the item traveling to get to me? Is it being shipped from a faraway place? Can I find it locally?
2. Is it made of natural ingredients?
Is it made using all-natural ingredients? If so, is the brand transparent about what those are?
3. Is it certified organic?
Are the ingredients used certified organic? Is the company itself certified organic? How do they prove that? What certifications are in place?
4. Is it vegan?
Is the product plant-based and made without any ingredients derived from animals or insects?
5. Is it cruelty-free?
Do they still test products on animals?
6. Palm oil-free?
Does the product contain palm oil?
7. Are ingredients sustainably sourced?
Is the company sourcing its ingredients sustainably and ethically?
8. Does the company use environmentally-conscious packaging?
Is the product packaged using recyclable and/or compostable/zero waste friendly packaging? This is part of a bigger movement known as Blue Beauty.
9. Is it inclusive?
More applicable for foundations and make-up, but inclusivity refers to the range of products offered and for whom.
Top picks for zero waste dental floss
Etee is one of our favorite zero waste toothbrush brands. Their fully compostable floss is made from peace silk and calendula wax. It has a light peppermint flavor and is packaged in either metal or glass (you can choose) with a metal lid.
The floss is packaged in a small cornstarch baggie that you can compost and the box is made from cardboard, which you can compost or recycle.
Peace silk is a complicated subject, but this is the most ethically sourced. I trust that anything that Etee creates is 100% sustainable. They are really one of the most innovative companies, they make a wide range of products like zero waste dish soap, lotion bars sans all the plastic and much more.
etee ships everything plastic-free, that's their guarantee!
If you are looking for a vegan zero waste dental floss, look no further than Canadian KMH Touches. This is what I use at home, I know the founder Kathryn Hogan well, she actually won an award for her innovative floss. I love it and would never go back. It's durable and works like a charm!
This eco-friendly floss is made of corn fiber and lightly coated with Candelilla wax. The corn is genetically modified but Kathryn notes that it's still way better than its plastic counterpart.
It's got a light minty flavor and comes in a small durable refillable metal jar. At 165 yards you are getting a bang for your buck!
I also love the fact that you can purchase refills (which are packed in a cardboard box) when you need them with no additional packaging required. Flosspot packaging is biodegradable cardboard using only non-toxic inks and glue.
All of their products are accredited as a 100% Biobased product and Flosspot™ Gold is accredited as a 100% Biobased product with USDA allowing for 3% margin of error.
Their sustainable dental foss is made from non-abrasive corn and coated with Candelilla wax, its got a refreshing spearmint taste and is packaged in a small reusable glass jar with a metal cap.
All of the items that Net Zero Co. carries are zero waste. They handpick everything you need to make your home a little greener. They have a simple motto: For The Planet. For The People.
Each time you place an order they will make a donation to Eden Reforestation Projects to plant trees in economically and environmentally challenged countries around the world. They are also carbon natural when it comes to shipping!
Anytime they send me something, it's 100% plastic-free. USE CODE ECOHUB10
4. Dental Lace
Dental Lace could be considered the OG of eco-friendly plant-based floss. This minty floss is made from PLA or polylactic acid floss is a plant-based floss made from corn, carbon-neutral, and 100% compostable.
Dental lace is manufactured in China and is ISO and FDA certified. It comes in a reusable and refillable glass jar that you can keep, no need to buy it each time. The package the jar comes in is made up of post-consumer recycled cardboard.
Life Without Plastics' mission is "to raise awareness on the health and environmental problems posed by plastics while making the solutions more accessible, and empowering people to be part of the change."
They also carry a huge range of body and home goods, all plastic-free of course!
Georganics makes two versions of dental floss. The first option is vegan and does contain 20% polyester which means you can't compost it, the other 80% is charcoal fibers. So it's not 100% zero waste.
The second option is not vegan because it's made from natural silk, which is biodegradable, making it the zero waste option. Ultimately it's up to you to decide which one suits you better. Comes in a reuseable glass flint with a metal cap dispenser. Packaged in a fully compostable, plastic-free box
Georoganics is available at EarthHero, possibly one of the BEST alternatives to Amazon for all your eco-friendly shopping needs.
MeMotherEarth makes a vegan plastic-free dental floss is made from Bamboo Charcoal Fiber, Vegan Candelilla Wax, and Peppermint Essential Oil. It's also biodegradable and will break down between 60 and 90 days.
It comes in a refillable glass container and a small cardboard box that you can recycle.
MeMotherEarth is an Etsy shop based out of the USA that carries a wide range of Eco-Friendly Products from zero waste cleaning to shampoo bars. They donate 10% of our profits to ocean and environmental conservation, so your purchase TAKES ACTION. Their packaging is also 100% recyclable and plastic-free.
When it comes to shipping, they say:
"We HATE plastic. All packages ship plastic-free even down to our tape! Occasionally, we upcycle/reuse cardboard boxes (saving some trees!) that may have tape from the previous sender. We use kraft paper or compostable peanuts that dissolve in water for packing."
If you have not checked out EcoRoots yet, I highly recommend you give them a quick visit. They carry so many great eco products for your home and life, including eco-friendly floss and the BEST natural laundry detergent EVER!
Their eco-friendly floss is made from compostable corn, naturally coated with plant-based candelilla wax and a hint of organic mint & tea tree essential oils to soothe and moisturize gums. It's also vegan & biodegradable.
It comes in a compostable/recyclable Packaging and Refillable Glass Floss Container! It's also gluten-free- floss that is shipped to your door sans all the plastic.
EcoRoots is based in the USA, they are a member of 1% For The Planet.
DuraPik makes a zero waste dental floss from algae. I must say this is pretty cutting-edge technology. We've seen the benefit of algae in sustainable sneakers. On the website, they claim to be the first to sell floss made from sunlight and water.
"This renewable and biodegradable sea organism can be turned into an environmentally friendly bio-fibre. It’s not just more environmentally friendly, it’s more beneficial to your oral health than traditional floss."
Algae is a renewable resource, is biodegradable, and has a fast growth rate economically and efficiently, there is also no need for chemicals or pesticides in the growing process. DuraPik produces all their floss in a closed-loop system, the floss is organic and vegan, and fully compostable too. They donate 5% to Project Aware to help clean up our oceans.
Well, there you have it, 8 amazing brands to get you started on a zero-waste floss routine. Now, you know that I am a big fan of DIY, and did you know you can actually DIY your floss?
Eco-Friendly Dental Accessories
Reusable floss pick
These small little buggers are like any single-use plastic. They pollute our environments and create a great deal of waste. Finding an eco-friendly floss holder was not easy. DuraPik (pictured above) offers one that is made from recycled, surgical-grade stainless steel and comes with a lifetime warranty. It's a way better option than its plastic counterpart. Yes, it costs more money, but you will never have to replace it! So it's a win-win.
Water Pik Flosser
This is another good option. You'd really only buy this once. It's not zero waste but I wanted to induce it as another option to flossing. Water flossing has many benefits. It's electronic and uses a strong jet stream to clean in between the teeth.
There is no need to buy mouthwash, you can actually make your own! There are so many great recipes online. One of my fav's comes from Kathryn at Going Zero Waste.
Many years ago I attended a talk with Bea Johnson, and the one thing that really stood out to me was her DIY floss idea. She recommended you unravel a piece of silk fabric and use that to flow with. I did try this and found I had to be really gentle as it broke easily. I do suggest you give it a go though! Everyone's teeth and spaces are different.
A final word on sustainable zero waste floss
To floss or not to floss....that is the question. I do like to floss and if you do as well, I hope the zero waste floss options featured above with helo you in your zero waste journey.
What's in your dental kit? Did I miss anyone? Please share in the comments.
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