Every time I write a round-up like this I need to remind myself that being completely zero waste is well almost impossible, everything we buy creates waste, but we can buy better and make sure the things we are buying help reduce waste, these 12 Zero Waste Toothpaste Brands are doing just that by taking a big bite out of plastic packaging.
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What is Zero Waste Toothpaste?
To put it simply, zero waste toothpaste is not really zero-waste packaging. It's finding products that will help us REDUCE the amount of waste we create simply by brushing our teeth. It also includes the ethical sourcing of ingredients and the sustainably of the company as a whole.
Why choose zero waste toothpaste brands?
There is a statistic floating around on the internet that claims that about 1 billion toothpaste tubes are sent to landfills every year. I tried to find the original source of this stat with no luck. But given the fact that so many of us use toothpaste in a plastic tube and in most cases, those tubes are not recycled, we can conclude that it's probably a really large number.
Toothpaste tubes are made from different types of plastic, aluminum, steel and nylon which makes them hard to recycle as each component needs to be handled differently. The same goes for toothbrushes which have nylon bristles, metal staples, and a plastic or bamboo (compostable) handle. To properly recycle these, you'd' need to separate all the pieces and let's be honest how many of us will actually do that! More on this later.
On top of the issue of plastic, most conventional toothpaste brands contain ingredients that are not good for the environment, like fluoride, triclosan, carrageenan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), propylene glycol, and artificial colours and sweeteners.
Triclosan is a suspected thyroid disruptor and may contribute to antibiotic resistance. It's highly toxic to aquatic life and studies have shown that it can disrupt development in animals.
Plastic has become a plague on our planet and I'm happy to report that there are so many sustainable toothpaste brands on the market today to help with your plastic-free tube desires.
Before you try any of these natural, zero waste toothpaste brands, make sure to check with your dentist first.
Zero Waste Toothpaste Brand We 💚
Nelson Naturals is available at one of my fav's zero waste online stores, EcoFreax offers everything you need for good oral care. Nelson Naturals is known as the original and best Plastic-Free Toothpaste Company's based in Nelson, BC, Canada. All of their products are made and formulated in Canada using sustainably sourced ingredients. This plastic-free toothpaste is formulated with the best ingredients including activated charcoal, known for its teeth whitening effects and for helping to get rid of plaque and bacteria. When using charcoal toothpaste, it can be messy, so just a heads up on that.
Ingredients: Activated Charcoal, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xylitol, Sea Salt, Colloidal Silver, Castile Soap, Trace Mineral Concentrate, Peppermint Essential Oil.
The Peppermint essential oil in this formula makes for the perfect refreshing brushing experience. Activated charcoal helps to whiten the teeth and helps to reduce plaque build-up.
This toothpaste comes in a glass jar with a steel lid that can be recycled or reused. They also carry spearmint, forest fresh and if you are into toothpaste tablets, you can find those as well.
EcoFreax has all your oral care covered from vegan floss to bamboo toothbrushes. They also have a wide range of ethical and sustainable products for the home, all of which are either reusable or degradable eliminating the use of single-use plastics.
They also carry these really cute toothbrushes, where the handle looks like a bamboo stick. They are wrapped in a plastic package, but they are currently looking into alternatives to this. Most eco friendly toothbrush brands use this type of packing to ensure health and safety. More about this at the bottom of the post.
If you are looking for sustainable toothpaste tabs, check out the Refillery Market. These tabs are all-natural, convenient and portable and use less water than traditional toothpaste.
They come in a glass jar and are ideal for travel. They are also twice the size of other toothpaste tablets.
What I love about the Refillery Market is the refill delivery of almost all of their products including of course zero waste toothpaste.
If you live in the GTA area, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington or Hamilton they will deliver right to your door. I've mentioned a few times on The Eco Hub that I really think the refill option will become more of the norm as people move away from single-use plastic packaged items.
The refill/bulk zero waste toothpaste they carry is made by a company called Rose Cirton. All the ingredients are sourced from Canada and the United States whenever possible. Some of their ingredients are from organic farming, fair trade no animal testing. This toothpaste has a light foaming action and also contains coconut oil and
Ingredients: Xylitol (25%), calcium carbonate, Glycerin (vegetable), water, coconut oil, Coco Glucoside, flavour, citric acid, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate.
The Refillery Market was founded by Koby, who after watching the CBC documentary 'Plastic Waste: The Supermarket Challenge' took matters into her own hands to reduce and even eliminate plastic in her home and life. All of the products sold are natural, eco-friendly and Canadian-sourced.
When I was a kid we had milk delivered by a milkman, we'd leave the bottles at the end of the driveway and each day new milk would magically appear, we created zero waste. This works the same way. Everything they sell online is eligible for home delivery. All liquids are packaged in clean mason jars, that come in three sizes. Each mason jar is sold with a $2 deposit fee. When your jars are ready to be returned simply place them at your door on your next delivery day and they will swap them with a full one, refunding you $2 per return. You can even use your own jars..
Change is a Canadian brand I know and love. I've been using their eco-friendly toothpaste tablets for about 6 months and enjoy them so much! They have three yummy flavours to choose from: spearmint, bubblegum and cinnamon.
Packaged in compostable pouches, they reduce your environmental footprint while giving you a clean, fresh brushing – without any harsh chemicals. I also love the fact that all the ingredients they use are natural.
The final product is gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free, soy, nut, and dairy-free so everyone can feel good about experimenting with a new brushing solution. The other thing I really love is that it’s helped me reduce waste so much, don’t you hate it when you put a blob of toothpaste on your toothbrush and it falls off into the sink wasting it! It happens. These tabs eliminate this altogether. All ingredients are organic and sourced right here in Canada.
Ingredients: Xylitol (GMO-free), Dicalcium Phosphate, Flavour: Natural spearmint flavour, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Menthol, Silicon Dioxide, Mentha Spicata Leaf Extract: Natural spearmint leaf.
I am so thrilled to share this new brand with you. The Good Organics Company is a Canadian toothpaste brand that works to ensure all suppliers meet their safety and ethical sourcing products. They are actively engaged in consulting and working with sustainable
permaculture building practices.
Their natural toothpaste tabs are made with 100% natural ingredients. Zinc Citrate is a multifunctional ingredient that helps freshen breath by reducing the impact of odorous compounds produced in our mouth by bacteria.
Calcium Carbonate: is a common abrasive that helps remove plaque, debris, and surface stains while supporting teeth and bones. The peppermint plant gives it that minty taste.
Good Organics buys as local as possible, currently, they produce 40% in-house but are working towards bringing the whole process home.
All of their packaging is fully recyclable and reusable. All refills come in compostable packaging as well. The Cardboard box, paper label, metal lid, glass jar, and entire packaging are 100% plastic-free.
I've been chatting with the owners and love the fact that they have a firm belief that we need to come together as a community and support one another. Break away from the current system and focus on creating real, whole products that support humanity and the environment. Gotta love that! They are also vegan and cruelty-free. 🐰
Etee is based in Toronto, my hometown and makes all of its eco-friendly products for the home in-house. Including their sustainable toothpaste tablets, also known as "chewpaste".
The two main ingredients are Canadian glacial clay, kaolin clay. The glacial clay helps to neutralize mouth bacteria, whiten and polish and is good for sensitive teeth. You'll also get lots of minerals and anti-bacterial properties.
Ingredients: Canadian glacial clay, kaolin clay, xylitol, erythritol, dicalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, binders, natural flavours - mint, vanilla, menthol & eucalyptol, citric acid, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (sls-a).
You can either buy the "chewpaste" in a reusable glass jar or you can sign up for their monthly subscription which includes 3 months supply for 1 person, which works out to 2 tabs per day, your refill will arrive automatically and you get a 38% discount when you choose this option. The refills come in a compostable pouch.
I love sharing local, small businesses with my readers. All of Etee's products are plastic-free. Since they make all of their items, they have way more control over their supply chain, ensuring what they are using to make their products are sustainable, ethically made, vegan and cruelty-free.
Note there is some palm oil in some of their products, they are looking into alternatives.
If you've been living an eco-life for a while you must know Living Libations. They carry a beautiful range of skincare and personal care products. Their ethical toothpaste is known to be small but mighty. All of the oils they use are of the highest quality, honestly, they are one of the best on the market today. The organic oils originate from plants cultivated without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides. They are also gluten-free, as raw as possible and almost all vegan. They do carry items that contain beeswax, but it's ethically harvested and produced.
Cinnamon Bark oil from Madagascar is a potent plaque cleanser and breath freshener. It is a classic spice and tastes nice. The neem oil does a really good job at reducing plaque and tartar.
The item pictured is vegan.
Ingredients: Virgin Coconut Oil - Cocos nucifera, Neem Oil - Asadirachta indica, Cinnamon Oil - Cinnamomum ceylanicum, Saponified Olive Oil - Olea europaea, Sodium Bicarbonate - Baking soda, Kaolin Clay - Kaolinite.
They can trace the source of their oils from the plant growing in the field with fairtrade practices for farmers, harvesters, and distillers.
This toothpaste comes in a glass jar, but it does have a plastic lid, so you'd need to separate those if you are going to be recycling the jar. The Detox Market does offer a bring-back and recycling program for beauty products. So make sure to check that out.
This zero waste toothpaste for sensitive teeth comes in an aluminum metal tube. The good news with aluminum is it can be recycled over and over again, which is not the case with plastic. The tube does come with a plastic cap, which is made from virgin-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE), Symbol#2 which is recyclable, but when you order from David's directly you can opt-out of that when you place your order, that's pretty cool. The cardboard box is made with FSC paper and can be recycled.
According to their website: "The high foaming action in most toothpaste tends to trigger the nerves of people with sensitive teeth, and since Davids has a more mild foaming action, this is helpful. Also, the crushed powdered limestone (calcium carbonate) in Davids is believed to plug the tubules (holes) to the nerves, so this also helps alleviate tooth sensitivity."
It's formulated with mostly 98% organic ingredients, all of which are sourced in the USA which allows them more control over how they are made and sourced and keeps jobs in the USA, keeping the local economy going.
Ingredients: Calcium carbonate (limestone abrasive), purified water, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), vegetable glycerin, hydrated silica, xylitol (birch derived), sodium cocoyl glutamate (coconut derived), carrageenan (seaweed derived), mentha piperita (peppermint oil), mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil, pimpinella anisum (anise) seed extract, gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen) leaf oil, stevia (leaf extract).
This small, adorable shop is located in Kelowna, British Columbia. I am new to this company but was so excited to find them. They carry four flavours of zero waste tooth powder. All of them come in glass jars with a metal top. They also offer a refill option which comes in a compostable pouch.
All of their ingredients are natural and ethically sourced. The base ingredients are calcium and clay which help to strengthen and whiten your teeth. The bentonite clay is less abrasive than conventional toothpaste and the Himalayan sea salts help to make the mouth alkaline which reduces bacteria, which reduced plaque.
The word Gaia means "mother earth". Mother earth smiles. OMG so cute. I just love the packaging too.
The combination of ingredients will help provide beneficial nutrients to support enamel growth as well as alkaline the mouth to reduce bacteria which leads to plaque.
Ingredients: Bentonite Clay, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Xylitol (from birch trees), Himalayan Pink Salts, Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Clove Essential Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil.
Unpaste tooth tabs will arrive at your door in plastic-free, 100% compostable bags made from non-GMO corn starch. These tabs are so easy to use, just bite down, add water and brush away.
The cellulose and silica work to create smooth, clean teeth, while helping to get rid of plaque at the same time.
Unpaste is a German company that is BDIH Certified (Association of kind German Industries and Trading Firms), an NGO that develops comprehensive guidelines for certified natural cosmetics. These natural toothpaste tabs are free from all the nasties like dyes, GMOs, palm oil, SLS, paraffin or other foaming agents. The guidelines cover everything from raw material to animal protection to dyes and other petroleum-based products.
Ingredients: Microfine Cellulose (Microcrystalline Cellulose), Sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Silica (Silica), Amisoft (Sodium Lauryl Glutamate), Magnesium Stearate Natural Mint Aroma, Menthol, Xanthan Gum, Stevia (Stevioside), Citric Acid.
Unpaste also makes a zero waste toothpaste with fluoride. I couldn't find any information on how the ingredients are sourced, but given the fact that the European Union has much stricter laws in place, I am going to hope for the best and on their official website, they do list a series of Europen certifications.
Unpaste is sold by one of our favourite eco marketplaces. Well Earth Goods, which carries a huge range of plastic-free goodies for your home. They are based in Oregon and will ship items to Canada with minimal packaging in mind. Everything they carry is also vegan and cruelty-free. You Gotta love that!
I love this online zero waste store so much. They make all of their eco-friendly products in-house, including their waste free toothpaste. You can choose from three flavours: mint-activated charcoal and cinnamon + clove. This is the only product on their collection that is not vegan, it does contain honey.
All of their ingredients are ethically sourced and carefully researched. There are no added fillers, preservatives, emulsifiers, fragrances, or dyes.
The toothpaste is made in small batches to keep them as fresh as possible and no water is added. The jar comes in is glass, it does have a plastic lid, but they offer a refill option so you can continue to use it time and again.
The bentonite clay will help to remineralize your teeth while the baking soda will help to whitened and deodorize. Myrhh resin fights against gum disease.
Ingredients: Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Coconut) Oil, Kaolin Clay, Bentonite Clay, Fullers Earth Clay, Raw Honey, Sodium Bicarbonate Diatomaceous Earth, Citrus sinensis (Orange) Oil, Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon Leaf) Oil, Cinnamomum cassia (Cassia) Oil, Commiphora myrrha (Myrrh) Resin, Syzygium aromaticum L. (Clove) Oil. *Organic
Zero Waste Toothbrushes
Along with good low waste toothpaste alternatives, you also need an eco-friendly toothbrush. Plastic toothbrushes have become a huge part of the plastic crisis we are currently facing.
National Geographic has an in-depth article on the history of the toothbrush, which is really fascinating. Before the plastic revolution in the early 20th century we used natural materials, since then, toothbrushes have evolved to become one of the worst plastic pollution offenders.
Choosing a bamboo toothbrush over its plastic counterpart is one step in the right direction. Bamboo is obviously much more sustainable than plastic, especially if it's grown sustainably. It's important to connect with companies that take this into account. With the explosion of bamboo products a few years ago, we have seen an abundance of greenwashing in this space. While bamboo might be a sustainable crop, in many cases how it's sourced and manufactured is not.
OLA Bamboo's toothbrushes are made with a bamboo handle that is compostable and biodegradable. The bamboo is sourced ethically and comes with third-party certifications that include (BREEAM, LEED, FSC). The bamboo is also grown without the use of pesticides or insecticides. Crappy bamboo products can contain melamine-formaldehyde, OLA Bamboo is free from these types of chemicals.
The toothbrush is designed in (and now made in!) Canada. OLA Bamboo is a Canadian company based in Quebec and offers eco-friendly products that are affordable and easy to use. Choose from 2 types of heads, nylon and one infused with charcoal. They make products that include bamboo utensils and straws, bamboo makeup remover pads, eco-friendly dental floss and more.
They also have a partnership with Re-Source Intégration, a social economy enterprise that employs over a hundred people with disabilities. They keep jobs in Canada where they can ensure that the people making their products are beating treated well and paid a fair wage.
Another Canadian toothbrush company that I use and love. Founded on the principles of the 3R's, reduce, reuse and recycle (being the last resort).
All of their brushes are made with Moso bamboo, which is highly sustainable and third-party certified by BREEAM, LEED, FSC. When you get a brush in the mail it's sealed in 100% compostable cello wrap made from wood and cotton pulp. They use this option instead of a paper sleeve as they find that most of these sleeves are lined with plastic, similar to a coffee cup.
The handle is compostable and they have two bristles options to choose from. Nylon and a plant-based version that is made from corn and tapioca and will only last from 2-4 weeks. They are also much stiffer than nylon and fray early. It's really up to you whether you want to keep replacing your brush every 2-4 weeks, knowing you are not creating any waste or opt for nylon.
The Future is Bamboo
These FSC-certified toothbrushes come in a variety of options for the whole family—from fun, rainbow-colored bristles to charcoal-infused, to unicorn-themed! They come in both adult and kid sizes, and you have the option of either buying a one-time pack or signing up for a subscription to make sure you never run out.
Not only is the bamboo used for these toothbrushes FSC-certified (which means it's been sourced responsibly), but these toothbrushes are also biodegradable, vegan, cruelty-free, BPA-free, come in minimal packaging, and come with carbon offsets. If you're looking for dental care products that are both durable and affordable, we definitely recommend checking out The Future is Bamboo. And if you're looking for more FSC-certified products, check out ShopFSC.ca!
Can I compost my toothbrush?
Yes, if the handle is made from sustainable bamboo. But you have to remove the nylon bristles BEFORE you do that. I show you how to do this on my Instagram account. It's easy. The bristles will need to go right in the garbage.
You are probably wondering why the bristles need to be made from nylon. Nylon works well to get rid of plaque, it's easy to use in the mouth and can get into those tight spaces between the teeth.
At the present time, the only toothbrushes that are 100% compostable have bristles that are made of pig hair. To source the pig hair, pigs are slaughtered and their hair is removed and processed into bristles. YEAH! NO thank you. I'm okay using a bamboo toothbrush where the majority of the actual item can be discarded responsibly how about you?
DIY Zero Waste Toothpaste
I love a good DIY, but this is one recipe that I have yet to make. There are so many good recipes online for you to choose from. My good friend Tara over at The Zero Waste Collective is sharing three of her favourites. Including a DIY toothpaste power, paste and even a mouth wash. I also love this homemade toothpaste recipe from The David Suzuki Foundation.
How to choose the right plastic free toothpaste
Like with all things on The Eco Hub we look for companies that are sustainable in every facet of their business and we take the following into account when featuring beauty items on The Hub:
Who can access and use this product?;
Equity and cost;
and NO greenwashing.
I love the fact that we have so much available to us and this list proves that we finally have more options. But we also have to be cognisant that zero waste toothpaste is not as widely accessible as conventional ones, you can't find it in a shoppers drug mart for example. Well.ca does offer some options, so does The Detox market. But it would be great to see these kinds of options in big box stores like Costco, where most people still shop.
Ordering zero waste tooth tabs, toothpowder and paste online is an option but shipping charges may be a deterrent for some.
There is also the question of Fluoride. It's certainly a contentious issue amongst dentists and toothpaste makers. The Canadian Dental Association says we need to brush with Fluoride.
University of Toronto's head of preventative dentistry, Hardy Limeback wrote a report about the negative effects of fluoridated water, we know that it can cause serious health concerns when ingested, that's why parents are cautioned not to let their kids be alone when brushing, in case they swallow.
StatsCan compared cavity rates in Ontario, where the water is heavily fluorinated, against fluoride-free Quebec and found very minimal difference in the number of cavities. Quebec had less than half a cavity more per child on average.
Limeback says the benefits of fluoride come from putting it directly onto the enamel, not into our bodies. That's why choosing toothpaste with natural fluoride is a good way to go. Ultimately you need to do what's right for you and talk to your dentists.
And no matter what toothpaste you buy, try make it a sustainable one. What zero waste toothpaste do you use?
Tell me in the comments below.
And if you are looking for zero waste supplies in Canada, I've got that covered too. And make sure when you are getting rid of your beauty products you are doing it in the most sustainable way possible. And when it comes to minimizing waste, there are lots of other things you can do too.
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