Zero Waste Floss: 9 Eco-Friendly Flossers For A Sustainable Smile
Ah, the dentist… there’s nothing quite like that biannual plaque scraping and the interrogation over your dental hygiene habits.
“Have you been flossing? Your gums are bleeding.”
Of course, that has nothing to do with them being poked by a sharp metal stick!
While no one likes being guilted by their dentist for not flossing, it is an important part of dental hygiene—but how does that fit in with a zero waste lifestyle?
Many believe (some dentists included) the only eco-friendly floss is no floss at all, but for those of us who fall in the pro-flossing camp, surely, there must be a better zero waste floss alternative.
Is there a compostable floss? Or at least a plastic-free dental floss?
You bet your bottom biters, there is!
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The Best Sustainable Floss Alternatives For Guilt-Free Gum Health
EcoRoots has some of the best zero waste floss for those looking to clean their teeth with vegan, sustainable bamboo fiber.
etee’s plastic-free floss comes with a refillable glass container and compostable refill bags.
Whether you’re vegan or not, ZWS Essentials has a biodegradable floss for you.
If you want to know how we created this list and why you should consider a sustainable flossing routine, jump to the end of the article.
The Full List Of Eco-Friendly Floss
Zero Waste Floss Brands
About EcoRoots’ Plastic-Free Floss
EcoRoots’ vegan bamboo charcoal floss is made out of bamboo fiber, combined with activated charcoal and organic tea tree oil to detox and disinfect your mouth naturally.
It’s also flavored with organic peppermint oil for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
They also offer a non-charcoal variety made of compostable corn, plant-based candelilla wax, and organic mint and tea tree essential oils.
Otherwise, there are no sweeteners, artificial flavoring, colorants, preservatives, or fluoride.
You can throw the used floss in your compost.
Your first order comes in a glass and metal floss holder jar, which you can skip next time by ordering refill bundles that come in compostable boxes.
That’s just one of many plastic-free personal care products on offer from EcoRoots. You can also find soaps, deodorants, lip balms, and so much more from this ethical Amazon alternative.
About etee’s Eco-Friendly Dental Floss Canada
etee cuts to the chase with one option of zero waste refillable silk floss.
The floss itself has a natural peppermint flavoring thanks to some natural peppermint oil infused with the candelilla wax and peace silk strands.
While this option is not vegan floss, it is the most ethically sourced silk on the market.
This compostable floss comes in either a glass or stainless steel sustainable floss holder, refillable via compostable cornstarch baggies.
If you’re looking to redo your entire dental routine, their Happy Tooth Essentials kit includes floss and bamboo toothbrushes, while other kids include toothpaste and mouthwash tablets.
Dental care isn’t the only thing etee offers. They sell a bunch of refillable cleaning products and reusable home essentials.
All products are guaranteed to be delivered to your door 100% plastic-free. The boxes are printed with soy-based inks and shipped in cardboard boxes with cellulose packing tape.
etee has also featured in an article on sustainable electric toothbrushes.
3. ZWS Essentials
About ZWS Essentials’ Biodegradable Dental Floss
They offer some of the best zero waste floss made from silk. Though it is an animal byproduct, it’s cruelty-free and only harvested after the silk worms have abandoned their cocoon.
If you still hesitate at the thought of sliding silk between your teeth, their zero waste vegan floss replaced silk strands with bamboo fiber.
Both are infused with organic peppermint oil to serve as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent, but the bamboo floss contains additional activated charcoal.
They contain no preservatives, artificial coloring, or sweeteners and are housed in glass reusable dental floss jars.
After each earth friendly floss session, toss the used floss in your compost bin for full decomposition within 60-90 days.
As with all products from the ZWS Essentials line, they’re Climate Neutral, delivered plastic-free, and support environmental causes through ZeroWasteStore.com’s 1% For the Planet membership.
About Georganics’ Eco-Friendly Dental Floss UK
Their zero waste dental floss is totally vegan and waste-free, made of 100% corn-based PLA.
They claim it’s compostable, but we’re not sure if it’s home compostable or needs to be thrown in an industrial facility. We’ll be touching base to clarify.
Choose between three varieties: spearmint, orange, and charcoal (for extra whitening and detoxifying powers).
Since these flavors are naturally derived and there is no added fluoride or other synthetics, it’s safe for pregnant women and children as young as those with “2 teeth that touch”.
All come in a refillable glass container with refill options sans the packaging.
About Radius’ Environmentally Friendly Floss
Radius has been publishing the boundaries of product innovation since the 80s—often by returning them to their holistic roots.
When it comes to their silk and candelilla wax-coated zero waste floss, pick between peppermint, vanilla mint, or clove cardamom flavors,
Ethical as well as sustainable tooth floss, it’s hand spun in small batches by the CORSEDA fair trade co-op in Colombia.
It’s free of BPA, latex, phthalates, parabens, gluten, GMOs, and artificial colors and sweeteners.
They also offer a PETA and Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free option, but considering it’s made of a soft nylon base (combined with coconut oil, carnauba wax, peppermint oil, and antibacterial organic tea tree oil), it’s not zero waste.
Though it is made in a solar-powered woman-fun USA factory, we urge you to (floss) pick the compostable floss instead.
Both products ship in recycled and recyclable packaging, along with EarthHero’s carbon neutral shipping.
6. Bring Your Own Jar
About Bring Your Own Jar Sustainable Floss
California sure knows how to have a zero plastic waste party, so let’s be sure to BYOJ!
In all seriousness, we love the name of this California company and the look of their totally vegan eco-friendly dental floss.
This minty floss is made from 100% plant-based maize straw PLA. While not suitable for your home indoor compost bin, it’s fully composable in commercial facilities, making it ideal for those with access to one.
It comes in a refillable glass jar with a recyclable metal dispensing lid, with boxed refills available sans the jar.
Each uncoated paper box is home compostable and comes printed with a little reminder of why you should choose a zero waste alternative to dental floss.
7. Dental Lace
About Dental Lace’s “Original” Zero Waste Floss
We’ll give credit where credit is due: Dental Lace was one of the first award-winning sustainable dental floss options on the market.
They offer a mint flavored non-vegan zero waste floss made of 100% mulberry silk coated in either beeswax or candelilla wax (you can pick between which you’d like to use to pick your teeth).
The beeswax variety comes coated in peppermint essential oil, but both are FDA-approved, completely compostable, and free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, and lead.
“Earth forward, fashion friendly”, each floss initially comes in a glass container with fun colored patterns painted printed right on (which encourages reuse even more!).
The refillable glass jar is then packaged in a small cardboard box that’s post-consumer recycled, certified FSC and PFC-free, and made using renewable biogas energy.
Inside, the floss is wrapped for hygiene purposes in a plant-based PLA cellophane bag that will break down quickly in industrial composting facilities or in 6–12 months at home.
Dental Lace is manufactured in China at an ISO-certified facility.
About TreeBird’s Bamboo Charcoal Dental Floss
TreeBird’s non-plastic floss comes with a bit of an ultimatum between zero waste and vegan.
If you want something 100% compostable, they make a non-vegan pure silk floss, but their peppermint-flavored vegan charcoal floss is mixed with a small amount of polyester for strength.
It’s biodegradable, but not compostable.
If you are set on this kind, the added tensile strength of the polyester means you might at least be able to make it reusable dental floss. If it looks in good shape, try rinsing and using a couple more times.
Either one comes in your choice of glass or stainless jar, shipped in kraft paper boxes, compostable down to the plant-based sealing stickers and soy ink label.
Eco-Friendly Floss Accessories & Alternatives
9. DIY zero waste alternative to dental floss
As with everything zero waste, you can also make your own, too.
One common recommendation we found was to use horse hair as floss.
This might be a viable option if you happen to have a horse (or know someone who does), but we’re suspicious of the ethics behind buying horse hair if not.
You can also use non-abrasive thread as DIY floss.
Regular cotton thread isn’t ideal because it can break easily and can get stuck.
Bea Johnson, in her book Zero Waste Home, recommends using upcycled silk cloth. If you have an old silk blouse hanging around in your closet and are wondering what to do with old clothes, consider letting it act as your long-time zero waste floss supply.
We’ve also heard of hemp clothing being used for floss in the same way.
10. Zero Waste Floss Holder & Picks
The best eco-friendly floss holder is your own two fingers, but if you prefer your flossing routine to be a little less up-close-and-personal (or can’t open your mouth that wide), opt for a reusable dental floss holder.
Disappointingly, we found no compostable options out there, but there are plenty of reusable floss holders.
Most are made of plastic, and while using a plastic floss holder isn’t the end of the world provided you plan on making it last a long time, it’s not ideal.
That’s why it’s exciting to see the first all-metal version of a made by Friendly Floss, which also comes packaged plastic-free in a plain kraft paper box.
11. Good People Inc.
About Good People Inc.’s Zero Waste Floss Subscription
On a mission to “make ethical consumption mainstream”, the Good People Inc. zero waste subscription service takes all the thinking out of ordering your dental essentials (and much more).
Just build your Zero Waste Parcel, choose the frequency of delivery (which you can manage online) and voilà.
Or, just buy one-time bundles. You do you.
For compostable and biodegradable dental floss, add the 2-pack of silk floss refills from MABLE® to your Parcel. It’s made of “non-violent ahimsa silk” (AKA peace silk) and coated in candelilla wax.
For something totally vegan, choose Bite’s floss, featuring a biodegradable but not compostable polylactic acid (PLA) thread base coated in candelilla wax. This one only comes with one spool but also includes a reusable glass storage bottle.
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Why Choose Eco-Friendly Flossers?
Is floss bad for the environment?
Traditional floss is composed almost entirely of petroleum-based plastic and nylon. That tiny foot long string of plastic might seem innocuous enough, but when you consider the US alone goes through about 3 million miles of floss per year, suddenly those strings add up.
And if everyone in the US flossed their teeth as the American Dental Association recommends, the discarded plastic containers could fill a football field six stories high annually.
That image is horrifying, but not nearly as much as those of the many sea animals being strangled by conventional plastic floss.
Traditional floss is also coated in a highly toxic substance called PFAS, a subset of perfluorocarbons (PFCs), which are also responsible for some of the most potent greenhouse gas emissions according to the EPA.
Not only does it have a terrible environmental impact, but it’s actually bad for you, too.
PFAS, the same thing Teflon is made from, are definitely not something you want that close to your gum line either. A recent study found elevated levels of PFAS in the bloodstream of floss users compared to non-flossers.
For our own sake as well as the planet’s, it’s time we get picky about how we pick our teeth.
How We Found The Best Zero Waste Dental Floss
Eco-friendly flossing is no easy task. Until recently, it was one of the hardest zero waste swaps to make in creating a zero waste bathroom.
That’s because the truly zero waste dental floss brands on the market were not vegan because the only compostable solution came in the form of silk dental flosses, a production process that typically involves boiling silkworms alive in their cocoon.
Some companies have started using “peace silk”, which is harvested from vacated cocoons rather than occupied ones. This supposedly makes it “cruelty-free” but even this is no guarantee.
The domesticated breeds of silkworms used hatched moths that can’t actually fly, see, or eat. They’re allowed to hatch pretty much for the sole purpose of laying more eggs, from which a large percentage of the larvae will just be allowed to starve.
Threads aside, for a while many comparable “zero waste” dental floss options still came in plastic bags. Where is the logic there?!
Fortunately, the sustainable floss game is stronger than ever, and we were able to string together a solid list of vegan and compostable options.
As with any of our personal care product guides here on Sustainable Jungle, we approach this search using our sustainable beauty criteria as a guideline:
- Vegan: The best products on this list won’t be silk and won’t use beeswax as their glide-ready coating (but use a plant-based or vegetable wax like candelilla wax instead).
- Palm-oil free: Not really a concern when it comes to sustainable floss.
- Ethical sourcing policies
- Thoughtful packaging: In this case, zero waste (ideally compostable) or reusable packaging such as glass or stainless steel jars.
Floss is unique because the product in and of itself can be a waste product, so we need to not only search for naked or reusable packaging, but biodegradable dental floss itself.
Final Thoughts On Sustainable Floss
Dental hygiene, while easy to overlook, is intimately connected to our general health and immunity.
That’s why it’s important to keep those teeth squeaky clean.
Where you’re opting for zero waste floss or another natural alternative to flossing, reducing your use of petroleum-based plastics and toxic chemicals is a terrific way to get a healthier smile (and in turn a healthier planet).
And if you’re wondering, “How do you not waste floss?”, the answer is to be conscious of how much you use. Even the best floss can be made better by consuming less of it.
If you haven’t already, make sure you’re also switching to a sustainable toothbrush that can make a huge difference in keeping your pearly whites plastic-free.
In our eyes, nothing shines quite like a sustainable smile.
Smiles may be contagious, but we need your help in spreading knowledge of how to make them more sustainable. Please share with your friends and loved ones to help them become a sustainable flosser, too.