Most people who are working on becoming more eco-friendly wouldn’t think to start with their dental floss. Reusable coffee cups and water bottles, mesh or organic cotton produce bags, and eco-friendly bath and beauty products tend to get more attention in the beginning. There’s no wrong place to start, as long as you remember that there are always other ways to improve.
Once you’ve replaced single-use water bottles with reusable cups and plastic grocery bags with reusable totes, you might start to look around and wonder what else can be replaced. And once you’re a well-seasoned eco-friendly consumer, you’ll notice that there are opportunities lurking around every corner.
Let’s talk about how you can build an eco-friendly oral hygiene routine:
Why Choose Eco-Friendly Floss?
Plastic is complicated. For decades, we have used plastic products, plastic packaging, plastic pieces, and plastic bottles with reckless abandon. But when we started to look a little closer at what we were doing to our one and only planet, many of us began to panic. Until just a few short years ago, the general public had very little idea of how detrimental plastic truly is.
Now, we know better – especially since the Break Free from Plastic Movement launched in 2016. Since then, thousands of organizations and individuals have taken a closer look at the potential toll they’re taking on the environment. And they’re doing what they can to reverse or at least slow down the damage.
Eco-friendly or biodegradable floss might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re talking about going zero-waste. But once you’ve locked in the basics, it’s a great next step to take. Because it is such a small piece of trash or litter, dental floss easily finds its way into the ocean. And because it is specifically designed not to tear, break, or rip when you’re using it, it can cause a lot of problems once it enters the water and engages with the marine life in that area.
Like other pieces of plastic that end up in our oceans, dental floss can suffocate marine animals. Some of these marine animals are already endangered for reasons related to climate change, pollution, and others. If they do manage to eat the floss without suffocating, it can make its way into their stomachs and stay there for years.
Imagine having strings of dental floss floating around in your stomach for years to come. This can cause several serious health issues for marine animals that are facing so many other issues already. Floss is a great example of the importance of paying attention to the little things. Little things add up to big things and we can use them to make incremental impacts every day.
How Much Plastic is Polluting the Environment?
One of the most concerning consequences of the rise of plastic pollutants is that experts are now expecting plastic in the oceans to outweigh fish by 2050. That’s only 30 years from now. This is the equivalent of us dropping a full garbage truck’s worth of contents into the ocean. But not a full garbage truck every year, month, week, or day – a full garbage truck emptied into the ocean every minute. And plastic packaging seems to be one of the biggest problems since only 14% of it ever gets recycled.
But this goes way beyond plastic packaging. You may think that something as small as a little spool of floss would be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things but it truly all adds up. The plastics used in oral care products like floss and traditional toothbrushes can take 1,000 years to fully decompose in the ocean or a landfill. Who wants to see floss containers or toothbrushes floating in an ocean for more than 12 times the average American lifespan?
And what may be just as concerning as this timeframe is the astounding number of oral care products that get thrown away each year because they’re not recyclable or they’re not being recycled. About a billion toothbrushes get tossed away in the United States each year. If something as small as a plastic toothbrush or thimble of floss can last that long and do that much damage, think about how quickly each piece of plastic adds up.
How Bathroom and Kitchen Habits can Make the Problem Worse
Think about every toothbrush, bottle of toothpaste, floss container, q tip coated in a plastic-style substance, shampoo bottle, and body wash container that gets tossed aside each day. Think about every discarded water or soda bottle, single-use grocery bag, plastic razor, and all of the plastic packaging that these items come in. It all adds up much faster than you might think.
We can help save our oceans and marine life by choosing eco-friendly products. And making sure that they’re being shipped in eco-friendly packaging is important, too. From your shopping habits to your kitchen storage to your bathroom products to your bedroom and beyond, there are countless opportunities for eco-friendly change. Start today by choosing biodegradable floss over traditional floss options.
Options for Eco-Friendly Floss
We have two incredible options to choose from in our eco-friendly floss lineup: vegan eco-friendly floss and bamboo charcoal floss. The primary difference between the two is in the ingredients that we use to make them. And this difference is minimal, too.
These floss options are the same when it comes to how to use them, dispose of them, and store them. Each of our customers has a favorite, depending on their preferences. The best way to find yours is to choose one based on our descriptions and start there!
How Vegan Eco-Friendly Floss is Made
Our eco-friendly floss is the perfect environmentally-conscious alternative to conventional plastic floss options because it’s both made without plastic and shipped without plastic. Instead of coated non-recyclable and non-biodegradable nylon strings, our vegan eco-friendly floss option is made from compostable corn. This is a significantly better material to use than the traditional wasteful ones and other eco-friendly options that use animal byproducts like silk.
This compostable corn base then gets coated with plant-based candelilla wax, plus a hint of organic mint and tea tree essential oils. These oils help soothe and moisturize your gums, so they’re generally gentler on a sensitive mouth than traditional flosses are, too. Once it’s ready to go, our eco-friendly floss is packed in a decorative and refillable glass bottle and capped with a recyclable metal lid.
With our attractive jar and recyclable lid, you can reuse the floss dispenser for as long as you choose, and simply order more corn or bamboo biodegradable floss whenever you run out. In addition to being non-plastic and eco-friendly, our floss products are also vegan, cruelty-free, fluoride-free, and the packaging is either compostable or recyclable, depending on your preference.
How Bamboo Floss is Made
While it is another excellent eco-friendly floss option, our bamboo charcoal floss is a bit different. This one is made with activated charcoal, bamboo fibers, and essential oils. Like the vegan eco-friendly floss, our bamboo floss is also coated in plant-based candelilla wax so that it glides gently between your teeth. The wax helps avoid fraying, ripping, and pain during use.
And this bamboo charcoal floss uses organic peppermint and organic tea tree essential oils to promote overall oral hygiene. These essential oils are known to kill bacteria and soothe and moisturize the gums. The EcoRoots bamboo floss is vegan, cruelty-free, fluoride-free, and comes in compostable or recyclable packaging.
When you run out, you can order a bamboo charcoal floss refill or a corn floss refill instead of starting over. They come in packs of two to make it easier to stock up. Just remember to keep your decorative storage jar from the original order! You could also buy or make your own decorative storage container to add a pop of color or originality to your bathroom vanity.
Ingredients in Bamboo Floss
Traditional flosses are usually made out of a synthetic polymer like Teflon or nylon. They may also be made out of silk fibers spun by silkworms or a synthetic polyester. Then, they’re coated with petroleum or beeswax to ensure that they don’t rip or shred when you use them.
This might seem like a pretty basic composition, but synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon can take up to 200 years to decompose. While that’s not exactly as long as the plastics that might take 1,000 years to decompose, we’re not done just yet. Traditional flosses come in little plastic containers that rarely get recycled. These thick plastic containers are recyclable in some places and not in others, but they almost always end up in the trash either way.
Instead, the ingredients in our bamboo floss are simple, healthy, and vegan, and the packaging is recyclable or compostable. Our complete list of ingredients:
- Organic bamboo fiber with activated charcoal
- Candelilla plant vegan wax
- Biodegradable polymer
- Organic peppermint oil
- Organic tea tree oil
For our vegan biodegradable floss, this list is even shorter. They’re made of compostable corn-based PLA, candelilla plant vegan wax, organic peppermint oil, and organic tea tree oil. At EcoRoots, we believe in using better-for-you ingredients that are better for the planet, too. And we believe in complete transparency, which is why we make it so easy to find lists of our ingredients for each of our products.
How to Use These Eco-Friendly Alternatives
If you already floss with traditional options, switching to eco-friendly floss will be easy. The process is generally the same. But many of us are infrequent flossers, or we haven’t quite got the technique down, so here’s a quick breakdown:
- Wrap about 18 inches of floss around your two middle fingers
- Hold the floss firmly between your thumbs and forefingers
- Maneuver the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion and curving against one tooth until the floss meets the gum line
- Slide the floss gently between the gum and the tooth
- The floss should be held firmly against your tooth and rubbed along the surface with a gentle up and down motion
- Continue until the backside of the last tooth is reached, following the same process for the remaining teeth
- Switch to a new section of floss when plaque builds up on the section of floss you’re using
Recycling Biodegradable Floss
As far as the packaging goes, it is all plastic-free. You can either recycle the packaging from your eco-friendly floss or add it to your compost pile. Compostable packaging breaks down into a natural or organic state when you place it into a composting environment.
“A composting environment” is a fancy name for your home compost heap. Our compostable packaging can go right into your home compost heap with your food waste. It’s truly that simple. Most biodegradable products break down in less than 12 weeks. But this is only one of the benefits of our compostable packaging.
Compostable packaging not only breaks down faster, but it also requires less carbon to produce, it reduces the amount of waste that gets sent into landfills, and it returns life-promoting nutrients back to the earth. If you have the space inside or outside of your home and are interested in composting, we highly recommend it.
If you don’t have enough space or you’re not interested in starting just yet, you can simply throw the packaging in with the rest of your recyclables. Either way, you can feel good about the fact that your packaging won’t sit in a landfill or an ocean for the next 1,000 years.
Other Low-Waste Oral Care Products
Now that you’re ready to make the switch to eco-friendly floss, let’s talk about some other low-waste oral care products you can swap out next. Our recommendations:
These alternative oral care products can help you build a zero-waste bathroom you can be proud of. You can swap things out one at a time to try them out or all at once to make the biggest impact. One of the zero-waste items we recommend the most is a bamboo sustainable toothbrush.
One billion plastic toothbrushes are tossed away each year in the United States alone. This accounts for 50 million pounds of waste annually. The bamboo toothbrush is plastic-free, natural, and sustainable. It is also cruelty-free, vegan, and made with recyclable soft bristles.
Bamboo itself is an environmentally sustainable material. It is the world’s fastest naturally renewing resource and it’s also naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, making it an ideal ingredient for an oral care product. Our pack of four bamboo toothbrushes comes in plastic-free and recyclable cardboard packaging.
Now, let’s talk about plastic toothpaste tubes: 1.5 billion of them end up in American landfills each year. You can find David’s toothpaste on our website, an incredible alternative made using the highest quality naturally-sourced and naturally-derived ingredients. This alternative toothpaste was carefully created to safely and effectively whiten teeth, fight plaque, and freshen your breath without damaging the environment.
This zero-waste toothpaste is free from artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, and sweeteners. It comes in two flavors: plain peppermint or peppermint and charcoal. The organic ingredients make this toothpaste vegan, cruelty-free, fluoride-free, and sulfate-free. It comes in a recyclable metal tube which makes it easier to squeeze out every last bit. And it comes in recyclable packaging too, of course.
When you’re done, disposing of the container is pretty simple. All you have to do is cut a slit down the length of the tube so that it opens up, rinse off the excess paste, and place it into your recycling bin. There you have another quick, easy, and eco-friendly bathroom swap.
Now, if you’re looking for a zero-waste toothpaste option but you’re not interested in one that comes in a tube, our Georganics toothpaste tablets are another excellent alternative to traditional toothpaste options. Until recently, most people had never heard of toothpaste tablets. Now, they’re rapidly growing in popularity as the benefits become more well-known.
In your choice of charcoal or spearmint, our toothpaste tablets help you say goodbye to plastic tubes and packaging and hello to a clean, eco-friendly, and refreshing way to brush your teeth. These tablets are made of high-quality, natural, and organic ingredients. Like our other alternative toothpaste, this one is free from fluoride, sulfates, and glycerin.
These tablets are vegan, cruelty-free, and travel friendly. They use natural ingredients to kill bacteria and promote fresh breath, healthy teeth, and happy gums. And each recyclable glass jar contains 120 toothpaste tablets, which equates to two months of use for one person. Our decorative jars are also upcyclable, so if you end up with more than one or if you find another way to store your biodegradable floss, they make great storage containers for other eco-friendly bathroom products! The box that they come in is recyclable or compostable, too.
If you’re worried that they may be more difficult to use since you’re used to traditional toothpaste, don’t be. Using a toothpaste tablet is much easier than you might think. All you have to do is chew one tablet in your mouth to let it dissolve, brush for your usual two minutes, spit out, and rinse well.
This should go without saying since you’re not supposed to swallow traditional toothpastes either, but try not to swallow the paste when you’re chewing the tablet. It’s not dangerous, it’s just also not the most pleasant sensation. Since there’s no fluoride, it’s not likely to cause nausea or vomiting as a traditional toothpaste would. But it might not taste as good when you swallow it as it does when you’re brushing your teeth with it.
Last but not least on our list of low-waste oral care products is our Georganics mouthwash tablets. These mouthwash tablets are made from natural and non-toxic ingredients. There is no fluoride, glycerin, or sulfates. With these natural ingredients, this eco-friendly formula helps restore a healthy pH balance in your mouth. This balance is crucial for maintaining good oral health, freshening your breath, and decreasing sensitivity.
Zero-waste mouthwash tablets dissolve in a mouthful of water, making them ideal for both everyday use at home and convenient when you’re traveling. Each glass jar comes with 180 tablets, which is enough for three months for one person. You can choose between spearmint flavor or activated charcoal.
These organic, vegan, cruelty-free mouthwash tablets come in a recyclable glass jar and are shipped in a plastic-free, recyclable or compostable paper box. They’re much better for the environment than plastic mouthwash bottles and they’re just as easy to use. All you have to do is dissolve one tablet in 20 ml of water, gargle it for at least 30 seconds, and spit it out without rinsing.
This might sound a bit strange if you’re not used to it, but you’re not supposed to rinse after you use a traditional mouthwash either. The reason for this is simple: the active ingredients in mouthwash continue to work even after you spit it out. By rinsing with water right after you use it, you might dilute the cleaning and strengthening benefits it offers.
Starting with biodegradable floss and bamboo toothbrushes is a great way to test the water as you begin building an eco-friendly home. The next step would be replacing your toothpaste and mouthwash. But if you’re eager to get even more eco-friendly, it doesn’t have to end there. There are plenty of ways to build a zero-waste bathroom outside of your oral care routine.
We have a full lineup of incredible, eco-friendly bath and beauty products. Items like shampoo and conditioner bars, safety razors, organic shaving soap, and organic reusable cotton rounds can help you build a zero-waste bathroom in your home. These options also make great gifts if you’re looking to convert a friend or family member, too.
Outside of your zero-waste bathroom, our products extend into home and kitchen categories for a well-rounded eco-friendly experience. Skincare products and eco-friendly detergents are two that are growing every day. Our eco-friendly store relies on organic and natural ingredients, sustainable alternatives, and recyclable and compostable packaging. Each EcoRoots product is a product that you can feel good about. Visit our website to shop or our zero-waste blog to learn more.
EcoRoots’ Eco-Friendly Online Store
More people than ever before are looking for ways to make their homes and habits more eco-friendly. We only get one planet and the damage that we do now can last well beyond our lifetimes. It’s time to join the growing movement of conscious shoppers choosing zero-waste and eco-friendly alternatives.
And if you’re not sure where to start, why not start today with some eco-friendly floss? From there, you have a list of low-waste oral care products to move on to next. Keep your teeth clean and say goodbye to plastic floss and packaging by adding our incredible eco-friendly alternative to your dental lineup!