7 Zero Waste Toothpaste Options For A Healthier Smile
7 min read · Last updated December 12, 2021
It’s recommended that you brush those pearly-whites twice a day. Over a year, that comes to quite a lot of toothpaste tubes tossed in the trash. In fact, in the United States alone, it is estimated that 400 million tubes are thrown out every year; that's 1.5 billion worldwide!
Like other single-use plastic, these tubes have a negative impact on the environment. Check out the list below of our favorite environmentally friendly toothpaste options that can serve as an alternative to your usual brands.
This small switch can help to brighten your day and minimize your waste.
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The most popular toothpaste brands come in plastic tubes lined with aluminum. This combination can’t be recycled, and once in the landfill, this plastic will take five centuries to break down completely. There’s a lot of focus on cutting down and eliminating the use of single-use plastic bags and plastic straws, but you don't hear as much about the plastic waste created by toothpaste tubes.
It’s not all about the packaging either. Some of the ingredients in a tube of toothpaste can have detrimental effects on the environment. For instance, some colorants found in certain kinds of toothpaste, like Helidone Pink, are toxic to many aquatic animals.
Sodium pyrophosphate is another example. It is a component that acts as fertilizer for marine plants like algae. This might seem like a good thing, but it destabilizes the ecosystem by causing overgrowth of these plants, leading them to produce excessive amounts of carbon dioxide that can actually suffocate animals in the water.
Fluoride, an ingredient in pretty much all mainstream toothpaste products contributes to fluoride pollution in the environment, which affects water, plants, and the animals that consume them. While fluoride toothpaste is the norm, our list includes some fluoride-free options as well. Check with your dentist before going with a fluoride-free toothpaste.
The toothpaste we know and love has been sold in paste format and packed in a metal or plastic tube for decades. This paste or gel contains abrasive ingredients to remove plaque and food bits from your teeth.
Toothpaste is obviously the most sold option for dental hygiene. It comes with or without fluoride in a variety of flavors. Given its popularity, you can find a wide range of ingredients and specialties including options for whitening, and sensitive teeth.
It's a little difficult to get zero waste or plastic free toothpaste due to how its usually packaged, but there are options. Some pastes come in recyclable metal tubes or glass jars.
Tooth powder is really just powdered toothpaste. The active ingredients, including the abrasives, are usually the same. It has similar options for flavors and also has fluoride and fluoride-free options.
A 2017 study examining the effectiveness of toothpaste and tooth powder actually found that tooth powder was actually more effective at controlling plaque and gingivitis!
Tooth powder is usually packaged in a glass or plastic jar.
Toothpaste tablets are just tooth powder that has been compressed and reshaped for less mess and easier portioning. Fewer fluoridated options exist in tablet form, but more and more options are becoming available.
Because tablets provide so little mess, it's easy to buy them with zero waste packaging. Lots of brands offer compostable pouches or reusable glass jars.
At the end of the day, the active ingredients in all three formats are mainly the same. Conventional toothpaste does tend to have more fillers to give it the paste-like quality, but it's really up to you to find what you like best.
Conventional toothpastes leave a lot of room for improvement in both packaging and formulation.
As always, we believe that small changes can be impactful and that doing anything is better than doing nothing. It's up to you to find the right product that has a smaller environmental footprint and still fits into your lifestyle.
Skip the store-bought stuff altogether and make your own! It doesn't get more zero waste than that.
Check out this recipe for zero waste toothpaste from Zero Waste Memoirs. It uses xylitol and calcium carbonate and is flavored with sweet almond and peppermint essentail oils.
Go for the Etee Chewpaste tablets. They are plastic free, cruelty free, vegan, and their packaging is great. You can get them with or without fluoride, and they taste great!
Swith to the David's Natural Toothpaste. It's a standard toothpaste in a tube, so no big routine switch-up necessary. It comes in a recyclable metal tube, so there is less waste.
Let's shine the spotlight on some organic, cruelty-free, plastic-free, and zero waste toothpaste brands that find at least one way to improve on the environmental dangers of the mainstream products.
Toothpaste tablets are a popular solution in the search for zero waste toothpaste options. Unpaste ticks all the boxes for a great environmentally friendly toothpaste, making it a fantastic option if you want to do as much as you can for the environment.
Straight from the package, Unpaste does everything right. They use recycled paper for their compostable packaging and print with soy ink. When you’re done with this, you can put it in the compost to go back into the earth with no ill effects.
According to Unpaste, "They contain zero preservatives, SLS, sodium saccharin, artificial colors, aluminum or nanoparticles. They’re also gluten free." No plastic and being completely vegan make this a great alternative to traditional kinds of toothpaste. Plus, they have a fluoride-free option.
Using these eco-friendly toothpaste tablets may take a little bit of getting used to though. These don’t foam up after you chew them into a paste. Foam doesn’t actually help with cleaning your teeth, but it’s something that we have all gotten used to.
Just chew one tablet into a paste, then brush as normal. These toothpaste tablets come in mint or cinnamon flavor.
For those who prefer a zero waste toothpaste that better resembles our traditional ideas of what toothpaste should look like, Butter Me Up Organics makes just the thing. They sell their plastic free toothpaste in a 2 oz glass jar that can either be recycled or reused. That’s only the start of their eco-consciousness.
Their products are entirely organic and natural, using only non-toxic ingredients. This means that you can use Butter Me Up Organics’ products for children too, as their toothpaste is completely edible.
There’s no fluoride in this toothpaste, but by using sea salt and calcium, it is still able to contribute to the remineralization process. By using natural oils, you’re able to get flavors like sweet orange and peppermint.
Get 10% off all Butter Me Up Organics products using promo code RADIANTFAMILYHOME.
Etee Chewpaste uses no plastic whatsoever; their zero waste toothpaste tablets come in a glass jar with a metal lid that can be recycled or reused. Refills come in convenient compostable pouches.
As the name of this eco-friendly toothpaste might give away, it comes in tablet form: you just pop one in your mouth, chew, and then brush!
For a polishing effect, they use Canadian glacial clay and kaolin clay, of which the former also helps with remineralization. Etee Chewpaste comes in both fluoride and fluoride-free versions.
They use sodium lauryl sulfoacetate as a foaming agent; this is different from sodium lauryl sulfate, which many people choose to avoid in products. Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, or SLSA, is naturally derived and is much safer than its notorious cousin.
You can buy a 1-month or a 3-month supply in delicious Minty Vanilla.
Georganics is a zero waste toothpaste brand that completely avoids the use of plastics in their packaging and offers a variety of dental care products. Looking for toothpaste powder, tablets, and even soap, in addition to traditional paste? They have it all.
All of their products come in cardboard packaging that can be composted or recycled, and in the case of their Toothsoap, there is no external packaging. Instead, it comes in a cardboard tube itself. The other products come in glass jars with aluminum lids, all of which can either be recycled or reused.
What’s really cool is how their different products each have different characteristics so you can choose whichever fits you best. Looking for something that foams: Toothsoap does that. Looking for effervescence during your brushing sessions: go for their tablets. Need something 100% natural: all of their products tick that box.
David's Natural Toothpaste is a great stepping stone into zero waste toothpaste. Instead of plastic tubes, this fluoride free toothpaste comes in a recyclable metal tube. They include a little key to help roll all the toothpaste out of the tube. Keep your keys! To encourage even less waste, David's will send you a free tube of toothpaste for returning 20 keys.
David's uses all natural ingredients and does not contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. This toothpaste is also free from all artificial sweeteners and colors. They use naturally derives essential oil to create their flavors; they offer peppermint, spearmint, and herbal citrus peppermint.
All of their formulas are sulfate free and fluoride free. They have options for both sensitive teeth and whitening.
Our favorite is the all natural peppermint.
This organic vegan tooth powder is handcrafted in ultra-small batches using products from American companies wherever possible. It is fluoride free; they recommend using a fluoride mouthwash if you want to add fluoride to your routine.
The plastic free packaging is food safe and is completely compostable. They also use plastic free materials for shipping.
Simply Sooney uses bentonite clay as an antibacterial agent that works similarly to charcoal. It raises the pH of your mouth and provides some abrasiveness to remove plaque. It isn't as abrasive as charcoal so it's a much safer option.
Simply dip a damp toothbrush in the powder. Brush your teeth as you would normally. Rinse with water and enjoy that fresh clean feeling!
Bite claims to help you "kick the tube for good." These toothpaste tablets are cruelty-free and vegan and 100% plastic free. Bite is made with Nano-Hydroxyapatite (N-Hap) that has been shown to help with remineralization and is an effective alternative to fluoride. These bits also include baking soda to help balance the PH levels in your mouth, zinc citrate to fight bad breath, and xylitol to repel cavity-causing bacteria. They use sodium cocoyl glutamate, a more eco-friendly alternative to palm-oil derived sulfates, as a foaming agent.
These zero waste toothpaste tablets are available as a 4-month subscription. The first order comes in a refillable glass jar; then each refill arrives in compostable packaging. You can also order a one-month supply in a plastic-free glass bottle if you just want to try them out.
No matter which you choose, making any change towards a more eco-friendly and zero waste lifestyle is a great thing!