Best Zero Waste Toothpaste in 2020: Clean your Teeth while Protecting the Planet

zero waste toothpaste and bamboo toothbrush

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Waste is one of the biggest environmental issues facing the planet, and this is only set to escalate in the future, with an exploding global population producing more and more trash. 

As consumers, one of the best things we can do to protect the Earth is to buy zero-waste products, particularly when it comes to essential items we use every day like toothpaste.

Why should you switch to zero waste toothpaste?

If you are environmentally-conscious, chances are that you’ve already reduced or eliminated single-use plastics, replacing plastic bags with calico ones, and ditching disposable take-away cups. But what about less obtrusive types of plastic waste?

Many products that we use as part of our daily lives, from toothpaste to shampoo, come packaged in disposable plastic containers. We often overlook these kinds of essential daily products, but the fact is they contribute significantly to the waste that piles into landfills every year.

The devastating impacts of plastic waste

According to the EPA, US households generated a total of 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2017, representing 4.48 pounds of trash per person per day heading to landfill. 13.2% of this trash was plastic products and both the proportion of plastic products and the amount of trash overall increased compared to previous years.

Plastic waste in landfill takes hundreds of years to break down: a typical toothpaste tube will take up to 700 years to degrade.

As we are generating waste much faster than it can break down, we are continually needing to find new spaces for landfill, polluting more and more of the natural environment.

Additionally, plastic waste doesn’t always stay contained in landfill: from there it can also make its way into waterways and eventually to the ocean. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute, posing serious threats to marine life.

landfill

If you need more convincing to go zero-waste, you should know that plastics also contribute to climate change. Plastics are made from petroleum or natural gas, and plastic production accounts for 4% of total global use of oil and gas resources.

Of course, it is impossible to eliminate essential items such as toothpaste from our lives. Happily, there is a solution to keep using toothpaste without contributing to the plastic problem: zero-waste products.

Top 10 zero waste toothpaste products to replace your regular brand

Thanks to the rise of eco-consumerism in recent years, more and more brands are releasing zero-waste toothpaste options that use biodegradable, compostable or reusable packaging. 

Here are the best products on the market today to maintain your dental hygiene without harming the environment.

1. Xtra Whitening Charcoal Toothpaste

Zero Waste Glass jar Charcoal Toothpaste Xtra Whitening Toothpaste - by Lucky Teeth - All Natural, Organic, Remineralizing and Fortifying (2 oz Glass)

This charcoal toothpaste comes in a reusable glass jar. So once you’ve used all of the product, you can put the jar to use to store food or beauty products, meaning no waste!

The toothpaste is made with coconut-activated charcoal that has a whitening effect, with cinnamon, cloves and mint for a refreshing flavor (although the use of spices makes the flavor somewhat unusual). The product is fluoride-free, glycerin-free and gluten-free, thus avoiding potential digestive issues associated with these ingredients.

It also does not contain any Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, artificial flavors or colors, nor alcohol, so is great for anyone looking for all-natural ingredients.

What we like:

  • Whitening properties – due to the coconut-activated charcoal ingredient.
  • SLS free – does not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

What we don’t like:

  • Flavor is a little unusual – while the addition of cinnamon and cloves gives a unique flavor, it might be a little unusual for those who are used to just mint.
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2. Georganics Natural Toothpaste Tablets

Georganics Natural Toothpaste Tablets

This is another zero-waste toothpaste that comes in a reusable glass jar. However, this time the toothpaste is in the form of chewable tablets.

If you’ve never tried toothpaste tablets you may be a little dubious, but these will clean your teeth as well as any conventional toothpaste. Chewable toothpaste tablets create a paste when crushed by your teeth and mixed with your saliva that you can use to clean your teeth with a toothbrush as usual.

Because each tablet is self-contained in its own tablet, rather like a breath mint, there’s no waste! These tablets are also loaded with natural ingredients to protect your teeth, kill bacteria, and promote fresh breath

This product is free of fluoride, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, and glycerin, as well as cruelty-free and vegan.

What we like:

  • Easy storage – the tablets come in a reusable glass jar that is not only zero-waste but also no mess, no fuss.
  • Cruelty-free – all ingredients are vegan and not tested on animals.

What we don’t like:

  • Chewable tablets – may take some getting used to if you have not used these before.

3. Simply Sooney Tooth Powder

Zero Waste 6 Month Supply Organic Vegan Fluoride Free Tooth Powder Peppermint Flavor- Ships Without Any Plastic Packaging

Another way to keep your teeth clean without producing plastic waste is by using tooth powder.

This powder comes in food-safe paper packaging, so you can put it in the reusable storage container of your choice.

You can use the tooth powder by dipping a damp toothbrush into the powder, and then brush your teeth as normal.

The powder contains only natural, vegan ingredients, including bentonite clay, calcium carbonate and organic peppermint oil for a fresh taste.

Another plus of this product is that the seller guarantees that it is shipped without any plastic packaging.

What we like:

  • Paper packaging – you can store the tooth powder in your own reusable container.
  • Zero waste in shipping – no plastic outer packaging.

What we don’t like:

  • Doesn’t come in a storage container – you’ll need to find a container to store the powder in.
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4. Georganics Natural Tooth Powder

Georganics Natural Tooth Powder

Another great option for tooth powder is this Natural Tooth Powder from Georganics. The tooth powder comes in a reusable glass jar and is free from plastic packaging of any kind.

This powder contains magnesium and sodium bicarbonate, both natural ingredients that will whiten your teeth and remove stains. All ingredients are vegan and cruelty-free, and there are no phthalates or sulfates in the product.

You can choose between English peppermint and activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is not only beneficial for oral health, but it has a range of general health benefits including supporting kidney health and reducing diarrhea.

What we like:

  • Whitening and stain removal – thanks to magnesium and sodium bicarbonate.
  • Activated charcoal – promotes oral and digestive health.

What we don’t like:

  • Made in the UK – If you’re in the US, this will involve some carbon miles.

5. David’s Premium Natural Toothpaste

David’s Premium Natural Toothpaste

This product comes in a BPA-free, food-grade aluminum tube that is fully recyclable. When you’ve finished using the product, you simply cut off the top and bottom of the tube, open it up, and clean the residual toothpaste.

As long as aluminum is accepted in your area, you can then put the clean tube in your curbside recycling bin.

You can choose to order it with an optional reusable metal tube key that allows you to get all of the toothpaste out of the tube, to make the recycling process even easier.

The toothpaste is made from all-natural ingredients, including calcium carbonate to remove plaque, sodium bicarbonate to whiten teeth, and birch-derived xylitol as a sweetener.

98% of the ingredients are of US origin, helping minimize the carbon footprint not only of the product itself, but from all the ingredients that go into making it.

What we like:

  • Fully recyclable aluminum tube – optional metal tube key to help with recycling.
  • Locally-sourced ingredients – almost all ingredients of US origin.

What we don’t like:

  • You’ll need to check if recyclable – aluminum may or may not be easily recyclable in your area.

6. Uncle Harry’s Peppermint Toothpaste

Uncle Harry’s Peppermint Zero Waste Toothpaste

This toothpaste comes in a three-ounce glass jar that can be reused or repurposed as you wish.

Made from pure plant essences, sea salt, and powerful mineral clay, this toothpaste neutralizes acids and bacteria in your mouth, helping to remineralize tooth enamel and make your teeth stronger.

The powerful natural ingredients deliver calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, also helping to strengthen your teeth. The vegan, natural ingredients are free from fluoride, gluten and glycerin.

What we like:

  • Mineral clay – neutralizes acids and bacteria in your mouth.
  • No plastic – comes in a reusable glass jar.

What we don’t like:

  • Contains lead – may be best avoided by pregnant women.

7. The Dirt Natural Mineral Brushing Powder

The Dirt All Natural Tooth Powder - Gluten & Fluoride Free Organic Teeth Whitening Powder with Essential Oils | No Added Sweeteners, Artificial Flavors or Colors - Sweet Spice, 6 Month Supply

This tooth powder will actually do the opposite of what the name suggests, and will help keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh!

The powder comes in a reusable glass jar, and like other tooth powders can be used by simply dipping a damp toothbrush into the jar and brushing as normal.

You only need to use a small amount of powder every time you brush your teeth, so one jar of Dirt Brushing Powder should last you around six months. You can then put the attractive jar to use for other purposes meaning nothing goes to waste!

The powder has a bentonite clay base, a gentle abrasive that won’t scratch or damage even sensitive tooth enamel. The formula of natural ingredients and essential oils has antiseptic and antibacterial properties to keep your whole mouth healthy.

You can choose between three natural flavors: super mint, sweet spice and cinna mint.

What we like:

  • Concentrated – each jar should last around six months.
  • Jar can be repurposed – comes in an attractive, reusable jar.

What we don’t like:

  • Inconsistent – some reviews on Amazon say the product can vary depending on the batch.
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8. Fat and the Moon Anise Clove Cleansing Tooth Oil

 Fat and the Moon Anise Clove Cleansing Tooth Oil

Another natural, zero-waste way to clean your teeth is by using a tooth oil. This cleansing oil from Fat and the Moon comes in a recyclable glass container with a glass dropper, and ships in packaging that is both recycled and recyclable.

It contains ingredients that will clean your teeth and support gum health by eliminating bacteria such as essential oils of clove, castile soap, and myrrh. It also contains anise essential oil that not only provides a sweet flavor but also promotes better digestion.

This tooth oil is designed to be non-abrasive, making it ideal for people with sensitive teeth or gums. It can also be used in combination with an abrasive like calcium bentonite clay for better plaque removal.

What we like:

  • Anise essential oil – aids digestion.
  • Non-abrasive  – perfect for sensitive teeth and gums.

What we don’t like:

  • Non-abrasive – Not very effective for plaque removal.

9. Krista’s Peppermint Toothpaste

Organic Peppermint Toothpaste Made by Krista's Natural Products - 75 g (2.6 oz)

This organic toothpaste comes in recyclable packaging, though it should be noted that it is only recyclable through Terra cycle, which has an additional charge.

With a base of calcium bentonite clay, the toothpaste also contains ionic sea minerals from the Great Salt Lake in Utah and organic peppermint oil for a refreshing flavor.

You only need a small peppercorn-sized amount of the paste to clean your teeth: either scoop it directly from the jar with a clean toothbrush, or transfer the paste to your brush using a spoon or simply your fingertip.

What we like:

  • Ionic sea minerals – remineralizes and strengthens teeth.
  • Bentonite clay – gentle but effective plaque removal.

What we don’t like:

  • Not free to recycle – recycling has an extra charge.
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10. Georganics Vegan Compostable Floss

Georganics Vegan Compostable Floss

This one is not toothpaste but it is equally important for your oral health! We know that flossing regularly is vital for healthy teeth and gums, but dental floss and the containers it comes in are also major contributors to landfill.

This dental floss from Georganics is fully compostable and comes in a reusable glass dispenser. Once you’ve used all of the floss, simply order a refill and keep using the same dispenser.

The floss is made from activated charcoal, vegetable waxes, and essential oils, so not only is it compostable, but it will help to freshen your breath and promote healthy teeth and gums.

What we like:

  • Zero waste – floss is fully compostable, in a reusable glass dispenser with refills available.
  • Essential oils – promotes better oral health and fresh breath.

What we don’t like:

  • Doesn’t fit old dispensers – the manufacturer recently changed their roll size, meaning new refill do not fit the old containers.

Buying guide

As a relatively new domain, it can sometimes be tricky to shop for zero-waste products. In the following sections, we’ll cover everything you need to know to buy zero-waste toothpaste that will look after your teeth and the planet at the same time.

What exactly is zero waste toothpaste?

Regular toothpaste tubes are impossible to recycle, as they are usually made of blended polymers, an unrecyclable type of plastic. Not to mention that these items are very small and contain remaining toothpaste, making them even harder to recycle.

Zero-waste toothpaste refers to toothpaste products that are packaged in materials that are either biodegradable, compostable, or reusable. For example, some products come in compostable pouches or in chewable tablets that have hardly any waste at all.

bamboo toothbrushes and zero waste toothpaste in a glass jar

Either way, you won’t have to worry about the packaging sitting in landfill for hundreds of years or making its way to the ocean. Additionally, these products are often produced in eco-conscious ways, from the ingredients they use to how the toothpaste is made.

However, there is no official definition of terms like “zero-waste”, “eco” or “green”, so it is important not to take products bearing these words at face value. Do your research and check what attributes the product has that makes it environmentally-friendly.

What to look for in a zero waste toothpaste product

With the explosion of zero-waste and eco-friendly products in recent years, it is important to be discerning as an environmentally-conscious consumer. Packaging and contents can vary widely between products, so there are a few key things to check before you decide which zero-waste toothpaste to buy.

Ingredients

Unlike most traditional varieties, not all zero-waste toothpaste brands include fluoride in their products. So is fluoride essential in toothpaste?

This is a somewhat controversial question: traditionally, we have considered fluoride as a must-have in toothpaste. However,a growing movement believes that fluoride is not only unnecessary, but that too much may be bad for your health.

If in doubt, you should always consult your dentist and they’ll be able to tell you whether you need to prioritize fluoride as a toothpaste ingredient.

Like many other personal care products, some zero-waste toothpaste products contain palm oil, an ingredient that is infamous for its catastrophic impacts on the environment. If you want your toothpaste to be eco-friendly beyond just its waste level, you should check the ingredients list and avoid any containing palm oil.

Many zero-waste toothpastes also contain xylitol, an ingredient that is beneficial to human oral health in a number of ways. However, this component is extremely dangerous for dogs if swallowed, so if you buy a toothpaste containing xylitol, be sure to keep it out of reach of your furry friends.

Packaging

Obviously, packaging is critically important when it comes to zero-waste products. The product should come packed in materials that are sustainable or reusable.

Products like chewable toothpaste have virtually no waste at all, while other packaging may be compostable (meaning that it can quickly biodegrade), reusable or recyclable.

A typical type of reusable packaging used for zero-waste toothpaste is glass jars, which you can use for a variety of purposes once you’ve finished the toothpaste.

If you are buying toothpaste in recyclable packaging, this becomes a bit more complex. We’ll take a closer look at this next.

Recyclable

When looking to buy toothpaste that comes in recyclable packing it is important to delve a little deeper into what this means exactly. How easy is it to recycle? Will you be able to recycle it in practical terms?

If you’re planning to include it with your curbside recycling bin, it may be a good idea to check with your local authority that they accept this kind of waste and are able to recycle it. If the toothpaste comes in packaging that is virtually impossible for you to recycle (so you end up throwing it away), then it is not truly recyclable.

It is also important to consider the outer packaging the product comes in. For example, if you’re having it delivered, will the package arrive in single-use plastic or bubble wrap?

This is an important question to ask before placing any order online, unless it is otherwise stated.

Other considerations

When buying zero-waste toothpaste, one of your primary motivations will be to find a product that does not contribute to the world’s plastic waste problem. However, if you are looking to be more sustainable in your shopping habits, there are a few other things you should keep in mind:

  • Look for products that are cruelty-free. This means they are not tested on animals.
  • Check whether the product is vegan if you are living or moving towards a plant-based lifestyle.
  • Make sure the toothpaste is palm-oil-free, for the reasons discussed above.
  • Buy local whenever possible: you do not want to increase your carbon footprint by shipping items halfway across the world!

Final Thoughts

Living a more sustainable life is all about small steps. There are many things we can do to protect the environment in the way we live and it is about making these changes one by one.

Some of the most impactful changes we can make are to take a closer look at the products we use every day and choose more sustainable options. When it comes to keeping our teeth clean, there are some fantastic, zero-waste products around these days, from toothpaste in reusable glass jars to tooth powder and compostable dental floss.

Could your friends and family benefit from learning more about zero-waste toothpaste? Go ahead and share this article on social media so we can work together to live more sustainable, eco-conscious lives.

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