An estimated 400 million toothpaste tubes are thrown away in the US each year, and while recycling is improving for many products, the fact remains that toothpaste tubes are notoriously difficult to recycle. While keeping your mouth healthy with regular brushing and flossing is important, finding alternatives to the wasteful consumption of plastic tubes, caps, toothbrushes, floss, and other dental products is equally important for the environment.
Thankfully there are plenty of products on the market that are doing just that, reducing or eliminating plastic packaging and also minimizing the number of potentially harmful chemicals found in conventional products. Together, these eco-friendly products are giving consumers a broad range of toothpaste alternatives that feature natural ingredients, compostable packaging, or are easy to recycle.
Here, we look at 10 zero-waste toothpaste alternatives, and the ingredients they contain, that will help keep your teeth clean, your smile bright, and landfills empty!
Zero-Waste Toothpaste Ingredients
One of the biggest question marks surrounding conventional toothpaste is fluoride. Technically, fluoride is a toxin, but when consumed in small amounts it doesn’t pose any real threat to us. You will find that some eco-toothpastes do contain fluoride to help protect teeth from cavities and some don’t, but it is recommended that children under the age of 6 use a fluoride-free toothpaste as they haven’t quite mastered the art of spitting out—something that’s important to learn as we get older. Other ingredients in conventional toothpaste that can be avoided include:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Propylene Glycol
- Sodium Hydroxide
In many cases, these ingredients are used to improve flavor or consistency, as well as longevity. However, many zero-waste alternatives use natural ingredients to the same effect. Some of the more common natural or organic ingredients include:
- Organic peppermint and spearmint
- Essential oils
- Activated charcoal
- Bentonite clay
- Calcium carbonate
- Baking soda
- Carrageenan (a type of seaweed)
- Coconut oil
Zero-Waste Toothpaste Options
There are, of course, many other ingredients used within zero-waste toothpaste, and this is far from the only consideration consumers must factor in when choosing oral care products. Packaging and other sustainability concerns must also be considered, as well as how the company operates and its level of transparency. To help you narrow down your options, here we look at some of the best zero waste toothpaste brands on the market today.
Nelson Naturals Toothpaste
Nelson Naturals zero waste toothpaste keeps things simple. Their toothpaste is packed in a glass jar with a metal lid and is available in a variety of natural flavors. The best part of Nelson Naturals is the packaging is refillable at exclusive zero-waste retailers. The formula contains only food-grade ingredients, including calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, xylitol, sea salt, colloidal silver, castile soap, trace mineral concentrate, and essential oils of sweet orange, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, and peppermint—so it’s a healthy choice both for you and the planet.
Toms of Maine Toothpastes
Naturals you can count on – Tom’s of Maine is one of the best natural zero waste toothpaste on the market. A certified B corporation that boasts the highest verified standards of social performance, transparency, and accountability. Tom’s has just introduced a new recyclable toothpaste tube. Their ingredients are all naturally derived and sourced. Tom’s also offers fluoride and fluoride-free options, while on their website you can click on any one ingredient and it will give you an explanation of what it is, how it’s made, and what it does for your teeth. To find more about Tom’s, visit the website here.
Auromère Toothpaste with Neem
Auromère products are inspired by the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, and these sustainable toothpastes are manufactured from premium Ayurveda herbs and botanical extracts. Auromère works closely with suppliers in India to ensure that their products are of the highest quality and do not rely on modern slavery. All of their products are cruelty-free and 10% of profits contribute towards the growth of Auroville in South India. Their products are also fluoride-free, non-GMO, and vegan with no artificial sweeteners. Finally, the toothpaste tube is BPA free and the box is 100% recyclable, however, what makes these toothpaste products really stand out is the super-concentrated formula. Each tube lasts 3x longer than regular toothpaste, meaning significantly less waste. Additionally, their toothpaste is available in a jar, making it another great zero-waste choice for eco-friendly dental care.
The David’s brand of zero-waste toothpaste is committed to using premium USA Origin ingredients to help support American jobs. Their toothpaste is also free of artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, and sweeteners while also vegan and cruelty-free. However, it’s the recyclable metal tube that makes David’s natural toothpaste really stand out, and each tube is packaged with a recyclable metal tube roller (tube key) that is designed to slide on the end of the tube to squeeze out the last drops. After your tube is empty, carefully cut it open to remove any hidden toothpaste and recycle it in your standard curbside collection.
Etee is a zero-waste toothpaste tab made in Greater Toronto from Canadian glacial clay, natural mint, and vanilla flavors. This toothpaste is free of sulfates, parabens, and harsh chemicals which are harmful to you and the environment. The magic ingredient, Canadian glacial clay, has a neutral PH and is high in magnesium, calcium, silica, and zinc to help neutralize mouth bacteria and loosen it away from the teeth. This clay is also ideal for those of you who suffer from sensitive teeth. Etee is also a vegan-friendly toothpaste that comes packaged in a recyclable glass jar.
Unpaste Toothpaste Tablets
Unpaste tooth tabs are a safe and effective zero-waste option that comes in both fluoride or fluoride-free form. Certified by the Aktion Zahnfreundlich, a German organization that reviews oral hygiene products as safe and effective, they can be bought packaged in certified compostable pouches containing 125 tablets, or in bulk from your local zero-waste store. Unpaste products are vegan and cruelty-free and haven’t been tested on animals. Check out the Unpaste website for more information on where you can purchase these entirely plastic-free toothpaste products.
Georganics Toothpowders and Pastes
Georganics offers a broad range of mineral-based oral hygiene products including charcoal toothpaste options that are well-known for their whitening properties. Packaged within familiar glass jars, these eco-friendly toothpastes are available in five other flavors depending on your tastes, and you can pair these with other products like bamboo toothbrushes and plastic-free dental floss. Everything is refillable or recyclable/compostable, so you can be sure your bathroom is zero waste.
Uncle Harry’s Toothpastes
Uncle Harry’s ditches plastic toothpaste tubes in favor of classically styled jars. In fact, they go one step further than most brands by offering giant 1.5 LB jars alongside the more conventional 3 oz. jars so you can reduce your packaging generation even further. In addition to toothpaste, the brand also offers mouthwash, tooth powders, tooth suds, and other oral hygiene products such as sustainable floss. Available in a range of natural flavors, including, peppermint, anise, and cinnamon, the larger jars are estimated to be a solid 3-month supply!
A high-quality zero-waste toothpaste is a core element of your zero-waste bathroom kit, helping you to maintain personal hygiene without impacting the environment. For more information on zero-waste products for your bathroom and home, browse our store today or subscribe to zerowaste.com.