Zero Waste Floss: Your Guide to Plastic-Free Dental Floss and Floss Refills

Dive into Sustainable Smiles with Zero Waste Floss: Your Guide to Plastic-Free Dental Floss and Floss Refills

Having great dental care is a cornerstone of good health. If you think about it, the bathroom is one of the most plastic heavy areas of the home and even our dental care routines can make a positive impact on the environment.

You may have heard of plastic-free toothbrushes, but maybe you don't know about your sustainable floss options. Say hello to zero waste floss – a total game-changer for those of us who care about the planet. In this blog post, let's chat about the coolness of plastic-free dental floss and why floss refills are the real MVPs. We'll shine a light on some of our favorite companies like "Me.Mother Earth" and throw in some links for you to explore sustainable floss options available at 
The Unwaste Shop.

1. The Rise of Zero Waste Floss:

Zero waste floss is a rising buzzword in sustainable dental care, and it's not just a trend – it's a movement. Traditional dental floss can be a plastic nightmare, but zero waste floss? It's like a breath of fresh air for your teeth and the planet. If you're here, that means you're interested in joining that movement. Let us tell you, it's truly one of the easiest swaps you can make! Especially if you live near a zero waste store (but, don't worry we ship!)

2. Environmental Impact of Conventional Floss:

Traditional dental floss? It can stick around for centuries, contributing to plastic pollution. Time to break up with that plastic floss and go for the sustainable options from companies who are putting the planet over profit.

Time to share a bite-sized background on floss.

Traditional floss is composed almost entirely of petroleum-based plastic and nylon. Traditional floss is also coated in highly toxic chemicals under the category called PFAS, a subset of perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Basically, these are a group of very popular, man-made chemicals that accumulate over time in humans and in the environment. You may have heard of these called ‘forever chemicals’ as they are extremely persistent and there's really no way to remove them from our bodies. They can lead to health problems such as liver damage, fertility issues and cancer.

PFAS, the same thing Teflon is made from, are definitely not something you want that close to your gum line either. A recent study showed "that using dental floss containing PFAS is associated with a higher body burden of these toxic chemicals,” stated lead author Katie Boronow of the non-profit Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts.

What makes this worse, is manufacturers generally don’t label any ingredients on their packaging, because they don’t have to due to limited regulations. Crazy, right? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies dental floss as a Class I device, which means it is deemed to be of low risk and has the least regulatory controls.

For our own sake as well as the planet’s, it’s time we get picky about how we pick our teeth.

plastic toothbrush, toothpaste and floss containers sitting on a counter with a red x and the words ditch the plastics over it

3. Plastic-Free Dental Floss: A Green Revolution:

Say goodbye to plastic-laden dental floss and give a big high-five to the green revolution of plastic-free alternatives. We're talking bamboo or ethically sourced silk – materials that don't just floss your teeth but also floss away environmental guilt. 

What are the pros and cons of the two more popular sustainable floss materials? Well, let's chat on that. 

Bamboo Floss: Bamboo dental floss is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional dental floss. Bamboo floss is typically made from sustainable materials that don't spend years in landfills. Activated charcoal is a common ingredient found in bamboo floss. It gives the dental floss its unique black color and is porous, giving it a natural ability to trap odors and toxins that hide between teeth. This is a fully compostable and biodegradable option and Vegan!

Silk Floss: Silk is an eco-friendly material that is sourced from silkworms. It is biodegradable, unlike typical nylon or plastic floss. It is also a renewable resource and is a fairly strong material, though it is more likely to break compared to typical floss. PSA! Be sure you're getting this from a source that is harvesting the silk sustainably and in a cruelty-free way. 

In traditional silk, silkworms are typically killed (boiled) in the production process.. Some estimates say that producing 1 pound of silk requires approximately 2,000 to 3,000 silkworms - all who would be killed and used solely for this purpose.

There is a way to harvest silk without harming or killing silkworms. This method was developed in India, and it produces what's known as ahimsa silk. Sometimes it’s referred to as ethical silk, peace silk, or cruelty-free silk, all things to look for when purchasing!

Although ahimsa silk production includes many of the traditional sericulture (silk harvesting) practices, harvesting is cruelty-free and doesn't kill the worms.. Instead, the worms are allowed to hatch from their cocoon, or sometimes the cocoons are cut open, and the pupae are tipped out. 

Though this ahimsa silk it is an animal byproduct, (so not vegan) it’s cruelty-free and only harvested after the silk worms have abandoned their cocoon. Learn more about the ethical dilemma of silk.

Our choice: Me.Mother Earth Bamboo Charcoal Floss. They make a great starter zero waste floss in a Bamboo Floss Container. I mean, how cute is this??

bamboo floss container and charcoal infused biodegradable floss on a counter

4. Floss Refills: A Smart and Sustainable Choice:

Let's talk about floss refills – the unsung heroes of waste reduction. Companies like "Me.Mother Earth" and "Bite" offer refills that ditch the excessive packaging, making it a breeze to enjoy your favorite dental floss guilt-free.

>> Come on in to The Unwaste Shop and check out our bulk refill station when you need a floss refill! We have a package free option!

5. Plastic-Free Floss: Creative Alternatives

Now, zero-wasters are known to look in rather unconventional areas for alternatives and DEFINITELY can be creative when it comes to reusing. So, if you're looking to get extra creative and think outside the box, we also have some options for you.

One common suggestions we found was to use horse hair as floss. 

This might be a viable option if you happen to have a horse (or know someone who does), but buying horse hair would be difficult to find (we assume) in an ethical way. It also seems like a somewhat smelly option, among other things.

One of our favorite zero-wasters, Bea Johnson, in her book Zero Waste Home, recommends using upcycled silk cloth. Think: your old silk blouse or your mom's unraveling silk scarf. These could be options to reuse something for your own zero waste floss resource. 

6. How to Choose the Right Zero Waste Floss - Your Step-by-Step Guide

Not all zero waste floss options are created equal. So you may need to dive into the details – materials, packaging, sustainability certifications. "Me.Mother Earth" and "Bite" aren't just brands; they're some trendsetters in eco-friendly dental care, setting standards high.

Ready to make the leap to a zero waste floss routine? Follow these easy steps:

  1. Research Your Options: Check out the variety of zero waste floss options available. A few of our favorite companies include: from "Me.Mother Earth" and "Bite" but do a research and test to find the one that suits your preferences. 

  2. Choose Your Material: Decide on the floss material that aligns with your values. Bamboo, ethically sourced silk, or other eco-friendly materials like compostable PLA – you can take your pick!

  3. Opt for Floss Refills: Make life easy with floss refills, even better: choose a package free refill! Pick up a couple to start, and you're on your way to a sustainable routine. We have bulk options on our refill station for just $5.49 per spool. You can also order the floss refill in compostable packaging, which is a bit more sanitary when shipping. 

  4. Dispose of Your Old Floss Responsibly: If you have leftover conventional floss, dispose of it responsibly. Check with your local recycling or waste management programs for guidance. 

    At The Unwaste Shop, we offer Oral Care Waste Recycling through our Terracycle box. This includes your old plastic floss containers!

    Terracycle offers several free recycling programs for consumers. Check out the Terracycle options for floss recycling, like your Colgate Wisps or Tom's of Maine oral care waste.

  5. Integrate Into Your Routine: Incorporate your new zero waste floss into your daily routine. It's a small change that makes a big difference.

  6. Share the Love: Spread the word about sustainable flossing. Share your experience with friends and family – you might inspire others to make the switch too!

And that's it – a simple guide to transitioning to a zero waste floss routine. Now, you're not just flossing; you're flossing with a purpose!

In a world where every choice counts, even your dental care routine can make a difference. Embrace plastic-free dental floss and floss refills.

Join the cool kids making the planet smile. We try to make these alternatives accessible and hassle free, so check out what's available at 
The Unwaste Shop.

Your teeth, and Mother Earth, will totally thank you.

See you soon!

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