Plastic-free and eco-friendly toothpaste options are on the rise!
You can be forgiven if you didn’t know this, as it hasn’t always been this way.
From teeth whitening to tongue and gum health, heading over to your local supermarket or pharmacy will give you plenty of options that will make your dentist happy. But it might not make the environment very happy.
Like with many other everyday items, one thing we often don’t think of when picking a new toothpaste brand is what impact its ingredients and packaging might have on the environment.
But, choosing an eco-friendly toothpaste to keep your gums healthy and your teeth pearly white can have a positive impact on our planet.
Here’s all you need to know about eco-friendly toothpaste and plastic-free toothpaste packaging options, so you can make a sustainable choice and take care of your dental health all at the same time!
What’s the problem with traditional toothpaste and toothpaste packaging?
Why should you make sure to pick eco-friendly toothpaste in the first place? What’s the problem with traditional toothpaste anyway?
The main issue with the toothpaste brands you’ll find at your local shop comes down to two main factors
The overwhelming majority of toothpaste formulas contain dangerous chemicals that end up washed down the drain as we’re brushing our teeth, polluting waterways and endangering local wildlife.
These ingredients include foaming agents and antibacterial agents like fluoride, SLS and triclosan, as well as the phosphor-based sodium pyrophosphate – this is known for actively promoting algae growth in our sewage system and releasing CO2 into our waterways as a result.
Some toothpaste brands also used to use microbeads, which are a type of microplastic known for endangering wildlife when ingested and posing a threat to our health as well. Thankfully, these have now been banned by the UK government as of 2018.
When it comes to packaging, traditional toothpaste is also far from eco-friendly.
99% of traditional toothpaste brands use plastic tubes and plastic lids. The tubes are layered and often combined with aluminium to give them the extra flexibility. However, this comes at a cost as it makes the tubes virtually impossible to reuse and recycle. The layering of different materials is also why items such as coffee cups and coffee bags are so hard to recycle.
What makes toothpaste eco-friendly?
So, what makes for eco-friendly toothpaste?
Here’s a quick list:
- Natural ingredients and no harmful ingredients
- Plastic-free tubes and lids
Eco-friendly toothpaste should contain no toxic and environmentally harmful ingredients. These eco formulas should opt for only natural ingredients, or at least, a minimal amount of chemical foaming agents.
On top of that, eco-friendly toothpaste tubes and lids should be fully plastic-free or made from biodegradable and recycled plastics.
Unfortunately, not all natural and chemical-free toothpaste brands are also plastic-free. So even though natural toothpaste alternatives are gradually becoming more mainstream, you’ll often have to search outside of your local supermarket or Boots to find a fully eco-friendly, plastic-free toothpaste to make your everyday grooming routine greener.
Luckily, we’ve done a bit of research for you.
Our top 5 picks for the best eco friendly plastic-free toothpaste UK
So, where can you find plastic-free toothpaste and chemical-free toothpaste in the UK?
There are more and more independent brands offering zero-waste, plastic-free toothpaste options that contain no environmentally hazardous chemicals. These come in a variety of ingenious forms from convenient tablets to tooth-cleaning powders.
Here are five of the most common alternatives you’ll find for replacing your go-to toothpaste with a greener, plastic-free toothpaste!
We’ve listed out the different toothpaste types and given you a couple of online eco shop options of where you can buy these eco toothpastes from.
1/ Toothpaste tablets
Toothpaste tablets have become one of the most convenient options for eco-friendly consumers. They are a great alternative to classic toothpaste when travelling and are made from 100% natural ingredients.
While some brands like LUSH’s toothy tabs do come in plastic containers, you can also find brands that have ditched the plastic altogether and embraced glass packaging and biodegradable, compostable cornstarch packaging instead.
2/ Natural paste
You can also find natural toothpaste in its most traditional paste form. Many different brands offer charcoal-activated formulas to promote whiter teeth and delicate formulas designed for sensitive teeth.
Whatever your dental health needs, you’re guaranteed to find an eco-friendly, organic formula coming in reusable glass jars!
3/ Natural toothpaste in plastic-free tubes
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly toothpaste that resembles the plastic tube packaging you’re used to, just without the carbon footprint, there’s now a number of independent brands to choose from offering all-natural, sustainable toothpaste in a convenient plastic-free tube.
Most plastic-free tubes are made out of aluminium, which is generally considered one of the most sustainable metals due to the circular nature of its lifecycle. While others are simply made of recycled plastic, so make sure to read the fine print!
4/ Plastic-free solid toothpaste
If you’re looking for something truly different, why not give solid toothpaste a try?
While there is only one brand currently offering organic, eco-friendly solid toothpaste, we can easily see how it could take off very soon: Convenient, plastic-free, and long-lasting. The solid paste is made from calcium carbonate with a few drops of essential oil to give a fresh taste!
Solid toothpaste might take a minute to get used to, but can save you quite a lot of money in the long run.
Brands we recommend: Lamazuna
5/ Zero-waste toothpaste powder
Finally, a zero-waste, natural toothpaste powder can help you replace your traditional toothpaste and reduce your water use at the same time. It will last considerably longer than traditional toothpaste options too!
Brands like Procoal offer natural toothpaste powder that comes in recyclable plastic packaging, but you’ll have no problem finding eco-friendly powder formulas coming in reusable glass jars.
And don’t forget your eco-friendly toothbrush!
Once you’ve found the perfect eco-friendly toothpaste for your dental health needs and smile goals, all you have left to do is pick up an equally environmentally friendly toothbrush to make your brushing routine as green as can be.
Bamboo toothbrushes have become an instantly recognisable symbol of environmental sustainability, so you’ll have no problem picking up your next toothbrush at your local store or online. Do make sure the bamboo is sustainable sourced though.
And if none of the above plastic-free toothpaste options feel like the right fit for you, you can always DIY your toothpaste by mixing some natural, everyday ingredients you might already have around your home!
Coconut oil, baking soda, and either lemon juice or peppermint oil make for the easiest formula to try out if you want to keep your brushing routine as low waste and inexpensive as possible — just don’t forget to consult with your dentist first!