According to estimates, more than 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes are thrown in landfills around the world every single year! If we stacked all of these tubes (1.5 billion) over each other, we could reach the height of almost 50 empire state buildings! The height of the empire state building is 443 m which should give you an indication of the problem we are facing.
But what’s more troubling is that a major portion of this waste (toothpaste tubes) ends up finding its way into oceans and other bodies of water. This means that toothpaste tubes are causing contamination on land and even in water. But what’s the solution to this problem? Let me introduce you to zero waste toothpaste which is hailed as the sustainable solution to this problem!
Conventional Toothpaste – The Problems.
As mentioned earlier, billions of toothpaste tubes are thrown into landfills year after year. But what’s more troubling is that they are not reusable (non-recyclable). If we look at the tubes which contain toothpaste, they are mostly made from a combination of aluminum and plastic. Due to this composition, it becomes very difficult to recycle the material.
The recycling of these multi-layer tubes is difficult but not impossible, though. But a large portion of the recycling plans straight up decline to accept the conventional toothpaste tubes. On top of that, the majority of the discarded tubes contain a host of strong chemicals such as preservatives, silica, sweeteners, triclosan, dyes, sodium lauryl sulfate, and so on. An already difficult to recycle material composition, and then the residue of these additional chemicals makes the conventional toothpaste tubes a major threat to the environment and even our health.
The chemicals mentioned above are also linked to a lot of different health problems such as cancer, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and so on.
The solution to all these problems? Zero waste toothpaste!
What is Zero Waste Toothpaste?
So far, we know that traditional toothpaste tubes are causing a major problem for the environment and health. But how does zero-waste toothpaste aims to solve it? A zero-waste toothpaste uses minimal and more sustainable packaging for the toothpaste. In short, Zero Waste toothpaste is all about limiting the waste which is being created through the packaging. On top of that, all such toothpaste brands usually use recyclable material for the packaging of toothpaste.
While a traditional toothpaste tube may contain plastic, a zero-waste toothpaste is packaged in glass or aluminum packaging, which can be easily recycled.
Technically speaking, we can’t really call it Zero waste as it does produce a little bit of waste. But we have to admit that the waste content is kept to a minimum.
Zero Waste Toothpaste: Flouride or No Flouride.
If you search online, you will find a lot of debate about whether toothpaste should contain fluoride or no fluoride. For some people, a zero-waste toothpaste should not contain fluoride, while for some people, it is a perfectly normal ingredient. In my personal opinion, it all comes down to personal choice and preference…
We all have heard the dentists and experts talk about the benefits of fluoride for our teeth – According to them, fluoride can keep your teeth strong and healthy while preventing cavities as well. Based on these facts, it seems that fluoride is good for the teeth.
But if you decide to use a non-fluoride toothpaste, only use those toothpastes that contain the required ingredients to protect your teeth from cavities while also keeping them strong and healthy.
Zero Waste Toothpaste Recipe.
Benefits of Zero Waste Toothpaste.
As mentioned earlier, using sustainable packaging is what’s makes zero-waste toothpaste so special. A good zero-waste toothpaste option will not contain any plastic material while also minimizing the waste as well.
Some of the main benefits of such kinds of toothpaste are:
- Reusable – The containers will be made from reusable materials such as metal or glass. These materials can be used again and again even for other purposes.
- Compostable – The packaging in which the toothpaste containers are packaged is also made from compostable material such as paper or cardboard. Once again, the use of plastic and other waste products is kept to a minimum even for outer packaging.
- Recyclable – While conventional toothpaste tubes are hard to recycle, zero-waste toothpaste comes into recyclable containers and outer packaging. In fact, the containers can be used for other purposes in the house as well.
In short, a Zero Waste toothpaste keeps the waste container to a minimum.
Top Zero-Waste Toothpaste
Now, let’s explore the different zero-waste toothpaste options which are available in the market:
The toothpaste belongs to the famous brand “David’s” and ensures that it uses premium ingredients of USA origin in the toothpaste. David’s toothpaste comes with no artificial colors, no sweeteners, and no artificial flavors and is also vegan friendly. If we look at the tube in which the toothpaste is packed, it is made from a recyclable metal as well.
But one rather unique utility that comes in the packaging is a tube key which is basically a metal tube roller. Using the tube key, one can easily squeeze out every bit of toothpaste from the tube. Once the toothpaste tube is empty, you can remove the last drops of toothpaste and then recycle it using the recycling standards in your country.
The Nelson Naturals toothpaste (Zero Waste) comes in a minimalist glass jar along with a metal lid to close the jar. Nelson Naturals toothpaste is also famous for its amazing variety of natural flavors.
One of the best things about Nelson Naturals is that the packaging (glass jar) can be refilled at zero-waste retailers as well. This means that you only have to buy the toothpaste once and then get it refilled in the original container again and again.
If we look at the formula of Nelson Naturals, it contains Castile oil, calcium carbonate, sea salt, sodium bicarbonate, mineral concentrates, and essential oils (peppermint, cinnamon, sweet orange, rosemary, and clove). In short, using this toothpaste will be good for the planet and for you as well!
Uncle Harry’s toothpaste also comes in reusable and stylish jars. One of the most prominent features of Uncle Harry’s is that they even offer giant jars (around 1.5 pounds) besides the conventional jars of 3 oz. For those who are more conscious about the environment, using giant jars can further reduce the waste generated from packaging.
Besides the zero waste toothpaste, Uncle Harry’s brand also offers a lot of other products such as tooth suds, mouthwash, powders, floss, and so on.
This toothpaste comes in multiple natural flavors such as cinnamon, peppermint, and anise. On average, a large jar can easily last for up to 3 months (90 days).
Who needs the tube when you have got Bite Toothpaste Bits! This one is a bit different from the traditional toothpaste as it comes into small tablet form (looks like pills). Despite the rather unique shape, using it is very easy. Just put it in your mouth and start chewing until a paste-like material is formed in your mouth. Then simply wet your toothbrush under water and start brushing as usual.
Since there is no plastic used in this product, you can also contribute towards keeping the oceans and land clean from unnecessary waste. The Bite Toothpaste Bits can be refilled as well by ordering refills that come in sustainable packaging and a compostable pouch.
Georganics natural toothpaste contains all-natural ingredients along with a high amount of important minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. All of these things belong to the category of minerals and are considered to be good for the teeth. Georganic brand ensures that all the ingredients of the toothpaste are food-grade certified and organic.
Some of the main benefits of Georganics natural toothpaste are:
- Also comes in kid-friendly options.
- Free from fluoride and SLS.
- A recyclable glass jar is used.
- Contains ingredients that help in teeth whitening.
The Toms of Maine toothpaste is also a good zero-waste toothpaste that claims to contain the best and natural ingredients. The corporation ensures that it keeps the highest standards of accountability, transparency, and social performance which is also verified by other parties.
According to the company, all of the ingredients in the toothpaste are derived and sourced from natural sources. This brand of toothpaste comes in both fluoride-free and fluoride options which means you can use the one you like.
Why is Fluoride-Free Toothpaste Better?
The answer may be that the “fluoride” in most toothpaste isn’t fluoride at all. It’s a closely related chemical, hexafluorosilicic acid, that some people think is worse for you. These people claim that it can leach from the toothpaste and the fluoride from water and make children hyperactive.
In response to these concerns, manufacturers have been reformulating their toothpaste to remove the offending chemicals. That’s why some toothpaste now advertises itself as “fluoride-free.”
But this isn’t really a triumph for anti-fluoridationists. The new, non-fluoridated toothpaste contains potassium nitrate instead. And potassium nitrate is just as good at preventing cavities and making teeth stronger and smoother than fluoride.
There are two reasons people prefer fluoride-free toothpaste. The first is that they’re worried about the safety of fluoride, especially for children. The second is that they aren’t getting enough fluoride from other sources, so fluoride in toothpaste makes no difference anyway. The first reason is based on a reasonable concern. Fluoride can be toxic if you swallow it, so it’s good to avoid putting too much of it in your mouth. And many people are now aware that there are studies suggesting that fluoride can lower IQs or cause other problems. So far these have not held up under scrutiny, but the doubts have not been resolved either.
The idea of fluoride isn’t new. It was first observed in 1809 when an English scientist observed that some rocks contained a substance that made teeth more resistant to decay when they were present in small amounts in water.
These days, most people get their fluoride in public water systems. Fluoride is put in the water because it has been found to reduce tooth decay in children. Fluoride-free toothpaste is different because it contains no fluoride. The toothpaste manufactured for this purpose does not contain fluorine, but instead sodium lauryl sulfate, which is responsible for the foaming effect, sodium saccharin, which gives it its sweet taste, and triclosan, which is an anti-bacterial agent.
Verdict: Is Zero Waste Toothpaste the Solution?
If you care about the effect of traditional toothpaste packaging on the environment, then yes! A zero-waste toothpaste is a solution that can solve the problem of waste to a greater degree.
On top of that, an additional benefit in most of the zero waste toothpaste is that they consist of natural ingredients which offer health benefits as well. If you are health conscious and need a toothpaste free from chemicals, then the solution also lies in the Zero Waste toothpaste!
So to sum it up, there are environmental and health benefits to using a Zero Waste toothpaste instead of a traditional one!