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Earth-Friendly Floss Alternatives and Why This Small Thing Counts

Image of floss (coffee paint)

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I want to share my experience about the product I use and value, including ones that align with my mission that I believe will be helpful to others, too.

Just like toothbrushes and tooth powder. Dental floss is one of the most common things we always overlook the impact it could have on the environment. I had used conventional nylon floss packaged in a small plastic container all my life before switching to compostable silk floss in a refillable and recyclable glass container about a year ago. 

Why did I change and why should you consider it?

I wanted to lower my oral product waste. The floss plastic container is usually useless once you finish the floss. Some recycle it, some toss it in the trash. Most traditional floss gets thrown away after use. Once the used floss enters landfills, it will just sit there for years, indestructible because it’s made of nylon, or will get washed down to the waterway that finally flows to the ocean. It can be eaten by marine animals or harm them in some way. That’s how our food chain is affected by these plastic bits like floss. It’s nasty even to imagine it, and that made me decide to make the change. I hope you are with me here, too.

What are the differences?

I currently use Dental Lace floss. It’s 100% silk floss, which is biodegradable and comes in a small glass container with a stainless steel lid. All are totally recyclable. What I love about it is this floss is refillable! I bought an additional floss refill spool, packed in a plant-based bag. The floss contained in a 100% post-consumer small box, printed with soy-based inks. The product is made with the earth in mind every step of it. 

From my own experience, I find it works perfectly, just like traditional nylon floss. It’s a bit sticky with the Candelilla wax (plant-based wax from Candelilla shrub native to Mexico and the southwestern part of the US), but that doesn’t bother me. Compared to traditional floss,  which is not only noncompostable, it’s also coated with wax that has PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals). PFCs found in the same chemical coating as non-stick pans, which links to serious health issues. Besides, its plastic container will continue to pollute the world forever. Buying compostable floss in a refillable container makes a lot less impact because you can keep refilling floss without buying a new container all the time. In the end, you can recycle the glass container and its stainless steel lid, that are considered better quality materials for recycling due to no degradation and can be recycled over and over again. Unlike recycled plastic, which is compromised in quality and can be recycled only a few times then will eventually become trash. These are huge differences. 

Where can you find it?

Let’s explore your options. Here I gathered a list of earth-friendly dental floss brands that you can look into and pick what you like. 

  1. Dental Lace – They have 100% silk floss with Candelilla wax and natural mint flavor, which is biodegradable. It is a 30-meter spool floss in a refillable glass container. You can buy online through their website, where they offer free shipping in the US for orders over $15. They also ship to Canada, Australia, and Europe. If you are local to New York, grab it from Package Free Shop in Brooklyn.
  2. Lucky Teeth – Bamboo fiber with activated charcoal, biodegradable polyester 20%, Candelilla wax, organic peppermint, and tea tree oil. This 30-meter floss is vegan, comes in a recyclable and refillable glass container. If you are local to Seattle, come shop at Scoop Marketplace. Their products are also available in local stores in Idaho (Garden City), New York (Brooklyn), Utah (Salt Lake City), California (Venice), Minnesota (Bloomington), and an online store in Australia. You can also order online on their website. They offer worldwide shipping. 
  3. Terra & Co. – Vegan and biodegradable bamboo fiber with activated charcoal, coconut oil, Candelilla wax, peppermint, and spearmint essential oil. The floss is about 29 meters long and comes in a recyclable small paper box with a metal cutter attached. Terra & Co. is a woman-own business based in Los Angeles. They have an online store and can ship products within the US and Canada.
  4. Treebird – Northern Europe based business offering two types of floss: vegan and biodegradable Bamboo Charcoal Floss and Pure Silk Eco Floss, both coated with mint flavor and Candelilla wax. Each floss is 30 meters long and comes in a refillable glass container and packed in a recyclable paper box. Their warehouses located in the US and Northern Europe. They ship products worldwide and plastic free!
  5. Flosspot – Based in Ontario, Canada. They have biodegradable pure silk floss, unflavored and lightly waxed and plant-based corn fiber vegan floss with Candelilla wax and ginger-mint flavor. The silk floss is 40 meters long and comes in a recyclable and refillable glass container. The corn floss is 50 meters long and comes in a recyclable and refillable stainless steel jar. 

I believe there are many more sustainable options for dental floss these days, which is a good sign. It helps raise awareness about sustainable practices broadly. The more we care about these little things and decide to make positive changes or choose alternative earth-friendly products, the more this movement will become a norm. Just make sure that you take some time to source products locally first before moving on to shop online. That way, you can reduce the carbon footprint from shipping at the same time. Let’s choose better floss for the better planet together!


References:

Best Eco-Friendly Dental Floss, by Kristen, 2019, https://earthfriendlytips.com/best-eco-friendly-dental-floss/

How Traditional Floss Ends Up Being an Eco Nightmare, by Harry Rabinowitz, 2020, https://blog.publicgoods.com/how-traditional-floss-ends-up-being-an-eco-nightmare/

Is Your Floss Toxic? How to Find and Use Safe Dental Floss, by Mark Burhenne, DDS, 2019, https://askthedentist.com/safe-dental-floss/

Stainless Steel – Recyclable & Sustainable, by Penn Stainless Products, Inc., 2013, http://www.pennstainless.com/blog/2013/07/stainless-steel-recyclable-sustainable/

Plastic vs. Aluminum vs. Glass: Which Packaging Should You Choose?, by Mina Sinai, 2017, https://recyclenation.com/2017/08/plastic-vs-aluminum-vs-glass-which-packaging-should-you-choose/

Candelilla Wax, by Drugs.com, 2019, https://www.drugs.com/inactive/candelilla-wax-36.html




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