Zero Waste Toothpaste: Sustainable Hygiene
Chances are, dental hygiene is part of your everyday routine. Brushing your teeth is an integral step in keeping cavities away and keeping your breath fresh.
Even though it is important, have you ever stopped and wondered how it affects the environment?
Here’s the deal:
Turns out, many of the most popular toothpaste brands are really not that eco-friendly at all.
From unsustainable packaging choices to harmful ingredients, there’s many reasons why you should consider ditching your current toothpaste brand and consider a zero waste option instead.
Here’s some of the problems I have found with many conventional toothpastes:
Waste Created By Toothpaste Packaging
Wait, can’t they be recycled?
The short answer is “yes,” but the long answer is “it’s complicated.” Toothpaste tubes are typically made up of plastic and aluminum, which are both materials that technically can be recycled.
However, there is a catch:
The way that toothpaste tubes are designed makes it nearly impossible to completely clean out the tubes before recycling. It also can be difficult to separate the materials from one another.
There are certain places that have figured it out, though.
Check it out:
TerraCycle has a Oral Care Recycling Program where you can send them your used toothpaste tubes and they will recycle them for you.
The trick to recycling toothpaste containers is to shred them up, clean them, separate the materials, and then finally, recycle.
There is a chance that your local recycling facility has the capability to do this, but it is always best to check ahead of time. You do not want to risk contaminating the whole bin of recycling!
Harmful Chemicals in Many Toothpaste Formulas
Besides packaging, there are other reasons why many toothpastes are often times, not sustainable products.
Many formulas contain harmful ingredients that are potentially hazardous to humans, plants, and animals.
One common ingredient that is found in most toothpastes you will find in traditional stores is Triclosan.
This is typically added to products to help reduce bacterial contamination. Although that is a great idea in theory, it is known to be carcinogenic and harmful to the endocrine system.
Europe has banned many applications of this chemical. Many people still debate over whether or not it is harmful, but research has proven that it is. No thank you!
Another popular culprit in many toothpastes and other beauty products is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (referred to as SLS). It is a surfactant, which means that it helps to evenly disperse the ingredients within the mixture.
It gets worse:
Often times, SLS is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, which is a byproduct of the manufacturing process.
Research has shown that is most probably carcinogenic. It also aggravates gums, which makes literally no sense to include in a product you use in your mouth.
Fluroide; the most controversial dental ingredient out there.
Many dentists recommend using Fluoride toothpastes because it has an unique ability to prevent tooth decay. In fact, it has been widely added to our water supply for years.
Here’s the deal:
Fluoride is naturally occurring. It can be found in air, soil, plants, rocks, fresh water, sea water, and even some of our foods. It helps with the mineralization of bones and teeth, which helps make them hard and strong.
So, what’s so wrong with that?
Well, over the past few years, there has been more research into the consequences of the excessive intake of Fluoride.
It can cause Fluorosis, which is basically just excessive mineralization of bones.
Here’s what happens:
You can get either dental or skeletal Fluorosis.
Dental Fluorosis basically just visually affects your teeth causing white spots to form.
Skeletal Fluorosis is a little bit more severe.
Here’s the break down:
Skeletal Fluorosis occurs when there is an excessive accumulation of fluoride on your bones. This will causes stiffness and joint pain. Advanced cases can even alter your bone structure and calcify your ligaments.
So many beauty, food, and cleaning products contain palm oil, and toothpastes are no exception.
Palm oil is in virtually everything and the production of it is harming some of the most sensitive habitats on this planet.
I want you to think for a second about the nature of toothpaste.
We use it, spit it into our sinks, it gets washed down the drain, and into our waterways. If these ingredients are toxic to humans, they are definitely harming the environment as well.
Although many of these ingredients are up for debate, much of the research shows that Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Fluoride, and Palm Oil are probably harmful to humans, the environment, and animals.
I personally prefer products that do not include these ingredients for this reason.
So, now that you know the truth about toothpaste, you may be wondering, “what are my other options?!”
Luckily, there are a bunch of zero waste toothpastes out there.
You really do not have to look too far to find them. In fact, today I will be sharing my favorites with you!
Let’s get to it:
My Favorite Zero Waste Toothpaste
All of the following products have been chosen with you and the planet in mind. I’ve tried them all and I like them for different reasons.
They are all eco-friendly, natural, and zero waste.
Here are my top picks:
1. DIY Solution
The easiest way to stay away from unnecessary packaging and lurking, harmful chemicals in products is to just make it yourself! It may take a little bit of extra time, but it is way more economical and eco-friendly.
Here’s how to do it:
This was one of the first zero waste DIY recipes I tried when I started transitioning into a plastic-free lifestyle.
All you need is:
–2 Tbsp. of coconut oil
–1 Tbsp. of bentonite clay
-1 Tsp. of xylitol
–1 Tsp. of baking soda
–15-20 drops of peppermint essential oil (for taste)
Mix all of these ingredients together, and voila!
You have your own toothpaste.
If you prefer tooth powder over paste, leave out the coconut oil.
Find a cute, reusable jar and store your DIY zero waste toothpaste in there.
Here’s the best part:
Once you run out, just make more and use the same container.
By using containers over and over again, you are doing your part by not contributing to the production of packaging waste.
I love DIY zero waste products because you know exactly what is going into it and there are no mystery ingredients.
This particular DIY is a staple for me. I often times purchase zero waste toothpaste, but if I have enough time, I’ll just whip up this recipe instead.
I love it!
This company challenges the use of bad chemicals in our oral care products. After the founder started making natural toothpaste products for himself and his friends, he decided to start Georganics.
Check it out:
This company promises to actually use all natural ingredients. This means no scary Triclosan, SLS, or anything else.
Their products are locally crafted in small batches and are all packaged with materials that are intended to be waste free.
It gets better:
Georganics never tests on animals. By being cruelty-free, ethically-sourced, all-natural, and waste-free, they have become one of my favorite sustainable oral care companies. Check out some of their zero waste toothpastes:
If you check out their natural toothpaste section, you may be surprised to see that they carry seven different flavors including English Peppermint, Activated Charcoal, Spearmint, Orange, Tea Tree, Pure, and Eucalyptus.
Here’s the deal:
All of these toothpastes are all natural, which means they are fluoride-free and SLS free.
They are packaged in glass jars with aluminum lids, which can be reused or recycled.
They come in a paper, compostable box.
Here’s my favorite part:
Since these toothpastes come in a jar, not a tube, you may be wondering how you apply the paste onto your toothbrush.
Well, Georganics provides you with a cute, little bamboo scoop so you can easily use it.
That bamboo scoop is compostable which makes this a complete zero waste toothpaste!
Georganics also carries various zero waste tooth tablets and tooth powder. These also come in all the fun flavors, are completely zero waste, and all natural.
They are awesome!
If you really want to get innovative with your tooth brushing, try out Georganic’s tooth soap.
This is one of my favorite products they carry because it barely uses any packaging and is completely compostable.
Here’s how it works:
If you are familiar with bar soap or shampoo bars, think of this product as a sister to those, but for your teeth!
This all-natural bar comes in compostable paper packaging. Simply rub your bristles in circular motions onto the bar and it will begin to foam.
It’s so easy:
Once your toothbrush has enough product on it, just brush your teeth like normal!
The bar is made from organic olive oil, cocoa butter, and flavored with essential Peppermint oil. This recipe allows teeth to absorb nutrients, which promotes natural remineralising.
It does not end there:
I find Georganics to be a unique company just based on the wide range of products and flavors they carry.
They understand that every consumer is different. We all have varying wants and desires. I highly recommend trying Georganics!
You know that I am a sucker for refillable products, so I naturally love Chewtab.
This product was made by a company called WelDental.
WelDental is dedicated to helping their customers prevent getting gum disease and provide all-natural, dentist-recommended products in order to do so.
Check it out:
Chewtabs are by far my favorite product that they carry. They are small, pill-like tablets that enable you to brush your teeth.
Here’s how to use them:
Simply pop one of the tablets into your mouth and chew. Once they form to a paste-like consistency, brush as you normally do. It’s that easy!
It gets even better:
The formula of the tablets are completely all-natural.
They are Fluroide-free, Silica-free, SLS-free, and enamel safe.
60% of the recipe is xylitol, which is an all-natural sweetener. It even comes in a few flavors including peppermint, cinnamon, vanilla mint, and bubble gum.
When you first purchase Chewtabs, you will get 60 tablets packaged in a glass jar with an aluminum lid.
Remember how we previously talked about how recycling toothpaste tubes is kinda tricky? Well this packaging can be easily recycled.
Although this jar can be recycled, it is actually intended to be reused, which is even better. WelDental provides refills for Chewtabs.
Here’s how it works:
You can get 180 refill tablets in a completely recyclable cardboard box. They package the tabs in three bags of 60 tablets in compostable bags.
Put them into the jar and you are all ready to go!
Take it a step further:
Do you already have some jars lying around? You can skip the starter kit and just buy the refill kit. Talk about zero waste toothpaste!
You’ll be getting sustainability points from me if you try out this method.
Although tabs are a little different than your more traditional paste, I really love them because you never have to worry about using too much product. It is already measured out for you! They are also great for traveling!
Try them out!
I know I have talked bad about toothpaste tubes and how they are hard to recycle, but Davids zero waste toothpaste is the only exception.
This company realizes that people are used to using tubes of toothpaste, so they decided to innovate on that idea.
Unlike most conventional toothpastes which are made of a combination of plastic and aluminum, David’s is made strictly of metal.
This makes it possible to be processed by any recycling facility. Love it!
I also previously mentioned that toothpaste tubes are difficult to recycle because it is hard to get every drop of product out of the tube.
Luckily, Davids has already thought about that.
Upon your first purchase, you will receive a metal tube roller.
This helps you use up every single ounce of product, which helps a great deal with recycling. You can opt out of receiving another tube roller if you decide to purchase again (which you probably will because this toothpaste rocks).
Not only is the fully aluminum tube more sustainable, but wow, it sure is pretty, too! The sleek design of the tube with Davids trendy, minimal branding make this a super aesthetically pleasing zero waste toothpaste.
Remember that laundry list of scary chemicals I rambled on about before? Well, don’t worry.
Davids all-natural toothpaste does not include any of those! Yup, fluoride-free, SLS-free, and palm oil free!
Davids vows not to use artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. They use a premium blend of essential oils in order to make their toothpaste minty.
Oh, and they are cruelty-free and vegan, as well!
Davids provides their customers with two different toothpaste options. The first is just plain peppermint flavoring. This formula is naturally whitening, anti-plaque, and gives you fresh breath.
They also have a blend of peppermint oil and charcoal, which is extra whitening. I love both of them!
Sustainable Dental Care
I hope that you do not just stop at natural toothpaste!
There are so many other amazing sustainable oral care products out there to try. Once you start transforming your habits to be more eco-friendly, you will start to realize how easy it truly is.
Check it out:
I would quickly like to recommend some other amazing zero waste dental-related products that I love.
First off, did you know that we throw away 2.18 billion floss dispensers into landfill each year?
Here’s how to avoid it:
Lucky Teeth has come up with an amazing idea: floss made from bamboo fiber! It is completely compostable and zero waste.
The best part is that it is packaged in a glass jar with an aluminum lid, so it has recyclable packaging.
It gets better:
They provide refills, so you can keep reusing your jar! Their blend of activated charcoal and peppermint floss tastes so great, keeps your teeth healthy, and helps you live a plastic-free life. Love it!
What good is zero waste toothpaste if you are putting it on a plastic toothbrush?
Try making the sustainable switch by picking up this awesome bamboo toothbrush.
EcoRoots is a great one-stop-shop for anything zero waste related.
I know that I have given you a lot of information about sustainable toothpastes today, but if there’s one thing you take away, just remember that plastic-free, all-natural products are the way to go for a healthy future for both ourselves and the planet.