The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: oral hygiene

June 29, 2017

Searching for a Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Dental Floss

For ten years, I’ve been searching for the perfect plastic-free dental floss.  Back when I wrote my first dental floss post, the greenest choices were either biodegradable silk floss in rigid plastic containers (I’m looking at you, Radius) or non-biodegradable Eco-Dent nylon floss in a cardboard box.  (Some brands like Tom’s of Maine or Radius seemed to come in cardboard boxes but actually included a hard plastic dispenser inside the box.)  There was no biodegradable floss in plastic-free packaging.

Times have changed.

Recently, I discovered two more promising brands of floss — one that is plastic-free and another that is both plastic-free and refillable!  Here’s a rundown, comparing Eco-Dent in a cardboard box, Le Negri in a metal tin, and Dental Lace in a refillable glass container, as well as a few more options at the bottom of the post.

Read the rest

December 10, 2015

Brush with Bamboo Introduces Partially Plant-Based Bristles

 Yesterday, I wrote about toothbrush companies incorrectly claiming that their toothbrush bristles were biodegradable, and I mentioned that I personally use a Brush with Bamboo toothbrush.  It’s not perfect, and the bristles are not biodegradable, but the difference is that the company isn’t claiming that they are.  And, after much research, they have come out with an upgraded toothbrush with bristles made from plant-based plastic instead of petroleum-based plastic.  Yes, they are still plastic.  But the company is striving to get away from fossil fuels, and I think this new bristle could be a step in the right direction.

(Disclosure: You can support My Plastic-Free Life by purchasing a Brush with Bamboo toothbrush here or here.)

Watch this video about the Kumar family and all of the steps they have taken not only to develop the most sustainable toothbrush, but also to create an urban educational organic farm … Read the rest

December 8, 2015

The Truth About Your Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush

There’s no perfect toothbrush, but some toothbrushes are less perfect than others, and sadly, a few of them aren’t even what they claim to be.  Here are a few disappointing facts I have learned recently about other companies’ toothbrushes.

 

Fully Compostable = Animal-Based

Right now, the only completely compostable toothbrush has a handle made from sustainably harvested wood and  bristles made from pig hair.  The pig hair is a by-product of the Chinese meat industry.  It would normally have been thrown away.  If you eat meat, perhaps this toothbrush would be the right decision for you.  I personally have chosen not to use it because the only meat I eat comes from humanely raised animals from local farms in Sonoma or Marin Counties.  Since I don’t know how the Chinese pigs are treated, I don’t feel comfortable using their bristles for a toothbrush.  Perhaps one of the local pig farms… Read the rest

August 2, 2015

Homemade Tooth Powder and Facial Scrub Recipes, Sans Plastic Microbeads

Neutrogena Deep Clean gentle scrub still contains microbeads as of 08/02/2105. Photo from Drugstore.com website.

Are you still rubbing plastic all over your face?

Since I first reported on microbeads–those tiny bits of plastic added to facial scrubs, toothpaste, and other personal care products–in 2007 and then again in 2013, the NY Times has reported on them, several U.S. states have passed legislation to ban them,  Canada is on the verge of banning them, and the Story of Stuff Project has created a video and campaign to get other states and countries to follow suit.  (Please follow that link, if you haven’t already, to take action and ask your representatives to ban microbeads where you live.)

But the trouble with some of  the proposed legislation is that it allows companies to switch to “biodegradable” plastic microbeads.  That’s a problem because most “biodegradable”… Read the rest

November 10, 2013

Thinking About Toothpaste at a Meditation Retreat

It’s been a busy two weeks, and I haven’t had a spare minute to write a blog post. I shouldn’t actually be writing one now because I’m at a silent meditation retreat, and it’s not really allowed.

But being here at the retreat center, a place I’ve come twice a year for the past 14 years or so, I remembered something that happened here 9 or 10 years ago, and thought I’d share.… Read the rest

August 24, 2013

Brush With Bamboo is my new favorite toothbrush

After reading my blog, and especially the review of several different eco-friendly toothbrushes, Rohit Kumar and his friend Rohit Sahdev were inspired to create the perfect plastic-free toothbrush. While they haven’t yet found a way to create a brush that is completely plastic-free, they’re getting close. Their company is called Brush With Bamboo, and I’ve really been enjoying using the various toothbrush incarnations they’ve developed over the past year and observing the Rohits’ efforts to create a brush whose materials and packaging are more and more sustainable.  I gave Ro K. lots of feedback and suggestions, and he listened and took action.  THAT is the kind of person/company I want to support!

(Disclosure: You can support My Plastic-Free Life by purchasing a Brush with Bamboo toothbrush here or here.)

The Handle

I love the curved handle on the brush as well as the length. The one in the picture… Read the rest

August 10, 2011

Natural Plastic-Free Toothpaste, Tooth Powder, Tooth Soap Ideas…

Since Tom’s of Maine switched from recyclable aluminum toothpaste tubes to plastic laminate a few months ago, I’ve been getting tons of emails asking what less plastic option to use instead. I looked at the change as a challenge to finally figure out a better toothpaste alternative. Aluminum was good (you could send the tubes back to the company to be recycled) but not perfect because of a) the plastic cap and threads, and b) the resin lining inside the tube which possibly contained BPA.

So, after much research and some harrowing moments, here are the Plastic-Free or Less Plastic tooth cleaner solutions I’ve discovered.  There are many, many more out there.  Your suggestions and input are welcome!

Make Your Own Tooth Powder

Google is full of recipes for making your own tooth powder. Here are two ideas.

1) Baking Soda and Salt Tooth Powder. When I first started my plastic-free project, I tried making my own tooth powder with… Read the rest

June 28, 2011

Verdict on Neem Chew Stick Toothbrushes

After last month’s comprehensive review of eco-friendly toothbrushes, I tried another alternative: neem chew sticks from Neem Tree Farms. Chewing on various kinds of sticks for tooth cleaning has been a routine part of life in India, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries. So I ordered a bunch to try. The neem sticks from Neem Tree Farms are grown in North America and are shipped fresh from the farm the day they are harvested. Other than growing my own neem plant, this option seemed to be the lowest impact, plastic-free tooth brushing solution, assuming it worked for me.

I asked the company to send me my neem sticks without any plastic packaging. They arrived in a plain brown paper bag inside a cardboard mailer. So far so good.

Storage: The Neem Tree Farms web site instructs, “For best results, refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to use them but keep them in paper not plastic.” I stored mine in a glass jar. WRONG THING … Read the rest

May 16, 2011

Eco-Friendly Toothbrush Review

08/24/2013 Update: My new favorite bamboo toothbrush is called Brush with Bamboo.  Read the full review here.  It wasn’t around back when I wrote this post.

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What toothbrush would you choose? Recycled plastic in returnable packaging or natural wood packaged in plastic? Nylon bristles or natural pig hair? Or how about a stick that you chew on? I’ve been researching toothbrush alternatives and found that they all have pros and cons. How you brush your teeth will depend on your environmental and ethical priorities, I think. There’s no perfect answer. Which would you choose?

Preserve Recycled/Recyclable Toothbrush

Materials: 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene #5 plastic and Nylon bristles. Recycled plastic wrapper which doubles as a prepaid mailer.

Origin: Made in the United… Read the rest