Ever since Lush reverted to packaging its Toothy Tabs toothpaste tablets in plastic containers instead of compostable cardboard boxes, I’ve been brushing my teeth with plain baking soda mixed with essential oils. (I pour a bit in the palm of my hand and run my wet toothbrush through it.) This method is fine, and cheap, but I missed the convenience of the tablets, especially while traveling.
Finally — well, okay, I may be a few months late to this party — finally for me, there’s a replacement for Lush Toothy Tabs that doesn’t come in a plastic container and is actually BETTER than the Lush product I used to love! (Bite sent me two bottles to review.)
What are toothpaste bits?
Bite toothpaste bits are little vegan tablets stored in a glass bottle that foam up and quickly become toothpaste when you chew them. Right now, there are only two varieties: Naturally Whitening Mint and Fresh Mint with Activated Charcoal. So, yeah,… Read the rest
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
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 doing 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.
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 in their neighborhood.
What I Like About Brush with Bamboo
The polyamide bristles are made from 62% castor bean oil,… Read the rest
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. (Here’s an example.) 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 … Read the rest
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” plastics will not actually biodegrade in the cold waters of the ocean, making them just as much of a problem as the original… Read the rest
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
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!
(Brush with Bamboo is available from Amazon.)
I love the curved handle on the brush as well as the length. The one in the picture on the right is the earliest version. It’s more curved. But … Read the rest
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… Read the rest
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
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.
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 States.… Read the rest