With the popularity of low waste living on the rise and a growing market for zero waste products, it’s no surprise that toothpaste is getting a makeover with sustainably packaged, plastic-free, biodegradable toothpaste. And if that doesn’t get you smiling, this might: DIY zero waste toothpaste recipes are also starting to appear on websites and blogs dedicated to protecting this planet.
But what’s the big deal?
For many customers, toothpaste and its packaging are just an unquestioned part of life. You wake up, shower, brush your teeth, and move on with the day. But take a moment to think about that toothpaste tube and its chemical contents. In the United States alone, consumers discard an estimate 400 million toothpaste tubes per year. Worldwide, over 1.5 billion end up in landfalls where it will take hundreds of years for them to biodegrade.
Of course, toothpaste tubes are just part of the problem. Their contents have had similarly devastating effects with industrial runoff from toothpaste factories damaging and even destroying ecosystems.
But if you’re ready to make a difference, we’ve got you covered. We’ll introduce you to six of our favorite zero waste toothpastes which trade chemicals and plastics for organic ingredients and recyclable and compostable packaging.7
Zero Waste Toothpaste: 6 Sustainable and Eco-friendly Toothpaste Options
Best Overall Zero Waste Toothpaste: Etee’s Minty Vanilla Chewpaste
Made with all-natural ingredients, including calcium fluoride, produced in factories powered by renewable energy sources, and packaged in glass jars or compostable packets, this is the perfect zero waste toothpaste.
Best Zero Waste Toothpaste for Whitening: Battle Green Box’s Remineralizing Natural Tooth Powder
Through its unique combination organic ingredients, this toothpaste not only whitens your teeth, but also supports remineralization.
Best Zero Waste Toothpaste without Fluoride: Dirt Don’t Hurt’s Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder
Exemplary for its use of activated charcoal, this toothpaste might not provide fluoride, but it does give your teeth that hygienic boost through local, organic ingredients.
Best Zero Waste Toothpaste with Fluoride: Unpaste’s Toothpaste Tablets with Fluoride
This toothpaste, or should we say, tooth tablet, is innovatively packed in a convenient tab form without losing any of the hygienic benefits of its peers.
Best Zero Waste Toothpaste for Kids: Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Zero Waste Toothpaste
This toothpaste helps the whole family participate in low waste living; with the inclusion of xylitol, your kids will want to try this toothpaste.
Best Budget Zero Waste Toothpaste: Uncle Harry’s Anise Toothpaste
If you find other zero-waste toothpaste prohibitively expensive, this is the perfect toothpaste for you; while certain compromises have to be made, it still offers extensive hygiene benefits in a recyclable container.
What Is Zero Waste Toothpaste?
Buying zero waste toothpaste is one of the best ways to begin practicing low waste living, and that’s because it’s relatively affordable and demonstrates how you, as an individual, can start to make a different. Better yet, if you’ve got a family, this is a great way to introduce a partner, relative, or child to sustainable living through a small change in their life.
Zero waste toothpaste is about minimizing the harm caused by the production and distribution of a toothpaste brand. The most obvious way of doing this is by removing all plastics from the process. Many of these brands have chosen to package their toothpaste in glass jars, metal tubes, or compostable packs instead of using plastic shells. They also emphasize the ability for these containers to be reused, recycled, or composted so that none of the packaging ends up in the landfill.
But it’s also bigger than that. If you purchase zero waste toothpaste, you’re probably also getting a product that uses ethically and locally sourced materials instead of relying on artificial or harmful chemical ingredients. Effectively, you are investing in environmentally friendly toothpaste.
To that end, try these six eco-friendly toothpastes options.
1Best Overall Zero Waste Toothpaste: Etee’s Minty Vanilla Chewpaste
Why We Rank This the Best Among Zero Waste Toothpaste Brands
It is hard, if not impossible, to find any reason to critique Etee’s Chewpaste. As of November 2021, palm oil is no longer included in the ingredient list. As such, this might just be the best zero waste toothpaste on the market.
However, it is not the most accessible. A month’s supply of Etee’s Chewpaste costs $12.00 USD, at least triple the price of most mainstream toothpastes. This makes it unaffordable for many low income families who are interested environmentally friendly alternatives.5 The price is, unfortunately, a hindrance, but Etee lets you see where your money is going and what you’re buying. From the glass jar packaging to the naturally and sustainably sourced materials to the lack of animal testing, this is a perfect demonstration of what it means to make zero waste, eco-friendly toothpaste.
And best of all, you can try it out for $6.00 USD with their Minty Vanilla Chewpaste sampler. That way, you don’t have to waste your money if it’s not for you. But we think you’ll come away satisfied and craving some more.
The tablets themselves are made with natural ingredients, including xylitol and baking soda, and do not contain sulphates, parabens, harsh chemicals, or artificial flavoring. You also have the option of tablets with or without fluoride depending on your preferences or medical needs. Many customers are in love with the taste, but for those that are not a fan of vanilla flavoring, Etee is planning to release alternative flavors in the near future.
Etee’s factories are also entirely powered by renewable energy sources.
2Best Zero Waste Toothpaste for Whitening: Battle Green Box’s Remineralizing Natural Tooth Powder
Why We Rank This the Best Zero Waste Toothpaste for Whitening
Battle Green Box’s Remineralizing Natural Tooth Powder is proof that alternative eco-friendly toothpastes don’t need to compromise on hygienic benefits to be ethically and sustainably made.8 Thier zero waste toothpaste, Natural Tooth Powder, is an impressive exercise in ethical, affordable, and customer-focused design.
There are other options for zero waste toothpastes that whiten teeth but Battle Green Box’s Tooth Powder is one of the best because of their staunch commitment to being cruelty free. This means that they can only source their ingredients from other companies that are also cruelty free and PETA certified.
Moreover, their product doesn’t just whiten your teeth. It also provides support to the remineralization process.
For those who don’t know, tooth remineralization is a normal, daily process where your body repairs and reconstructs the enamel, the external layer, of your teeth. This is to combat demineralization, a process in which bacteria feeds on the foods you ingest and produce acids. These acids eat way at the enamel and can lead to tooth decay or cavities if not treated. That’s why most hygiene care products contain fluoride and other ingredients that promote remineralization.6
In the case of Battle Green Box’s Tooth Powder, they use a combination of bentonite clay, calcium, pink Himalayan salt, and xylitol to achieve similar results. So, not only will your teeth be whitened, they’ll also be protected from excessive tooth demineralization.
As part of its cruelty free agenda, Battle Green Box does not test any of its cosmetic products on animals. Its products are also free of any animal byproducts making their store particularly enticing to vegetarian and vegan customers. Their Remineralizing Natural Tooth Powder also comes in a glass container with a metal lid while refills are packaged in compostable pouches. All of their products are shipped in cardboard boxes.
While this toothpaste is an excellent choice for customers in Europe and the UK, you may want to consider other options if you are located overseas.
3Best Zero Waste Toothpaste without Fluoride: Dirt Don’t Hurt’s Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder
Why We Rank This the Best Zero Waste Toothpaste Without Fluoride
Dirt Don’t Hurt’s Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder is a strong contender for best overall zero waste toothpaste. However, there is not enough information on how they ship their products to make that decision.
There is a lot to like about their zero waste toothpaste, not the least because of its innovative ingredient list and oral hygiene benefits. And of course, it’s most notable feature is its lack of fluoride. Fluoride can, in large enough doses, pose health risks. The primary example being dental fluorosis, a condition in which tooth enamel becomes discolored. However, fluorosis is rare, only really occurring in the developing teeth of children when they fail to spit out their toothpaste. This is easily avoided by having parental figures discourage their child from swallowing toothpaste.
In rare cases brought on by constant exposure to high levels of fluoride, a person can develop skeletal fluorosis, but this only occurs in areas where there are high levels of fluoride in the drinking water sources.
For most people, this is not an issue. However, if you do want to avoid ingesting more fluoride, this is an excellent toothpaste to try. The addition of activated charcoal also somewhat makes up for the lack of fluoride in preventing cavities or tooth decay.12
It’s worth taking a moment to admire their use of activated charcoal too. This ingredient has many incredible effects including removing plaque, eliminating toxins, absorbing bacteria, and naturally whitening teeth. It is also antibacterial and anti-fungal in nature.
If you want to show your monetary support for Black business owners (and you should!) and enjoy the benefits of zero waste toothpaste, Dirt Don’t Hurt is one of the best small businesses to buy from. This company was founded by three sisters in 2017 with the express purpose of researching and developing personal care products that fit with an eco-friendly lifestyle.3
4Best Zero Waste Toothpaste with Fluoride: Unpaste’s Toothpaste Tablets with Fluoride
Why We Rank This the Best Zero Waste Toothpaste With Fluoride
Unpaste’s zero waste Toothpaste Tablets are remarkable in their simplicity while prioritizing sustainability, and are a good alternative to Etee’s Chewpaste.11 They’re slightly less expensive at $8.99 USD for 125 tabs (about two months supply) while still giving you good results.
They are also sustainably packaged. A two month supply is delivered in a compostable, non-GMO corn starch bag, and the tablets are cruelty free and vegan friendly. Plus, Unpaste has all of its products certified by BDIH, a nonprofit organization that certifies natural cosmetic products based on their ingredients and production methods.
The inclusion of fluoride helps to differentiate them from other zero waste toothpastes as fluoride is important to preventing tooth decay. The mineral makes enamel more resistant to acid released by plaque, bacteria, and sugars in your mouth.
When used by children under the age of six, it becomes incorporated into their teeth so that their enamel is more resistant to decay as an adult. Fluoride is incredibly important to the development and maintenance of healthy teeth so while there is a fluoride free version of Unpaste’s toothpaste, you may want to try the fluoride version first.
However, there’s nothing to make Unpaste’s zero waste toothpaste stand out except for its tab design. While many zero waste toothpastes are, technically, tooth powders, Unpaste has created an innovative tablet design that emphasizes convenience. All you need to do is bite down on one of their tablets and then, using a soft bristled brush, brush your teeth.
It’s easy, relatively inexpensive, and contains fluoride which is often missing from zero waste toothpastes.
5Best Zero Waste Toothpaste for Kids: Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Zero Waste Toothpaste
Why We Rank This the Best Zero Waste Toothpaste for Kids
There is a lot to love about Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Zero Waste Toothpaste and we urge you to check out their other options for adults like their Natural Vegan Toothpaste with comes in a recyclable metal tube or even their Bamboo Toothbrush which is the perfect accessory to either product.
Tiny Yellow Bungalow promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle through high quality, plastic free products and have partnered with One Tree Planted, a non-profit global organization which works with local communities and experts on reforestation projects.
From the packaging to the paste, this product is designed to entirely eliminate its environmental impact, and best of all, kids will love it. That sweet orange flavoring has the perfect amount of sugary goodness to have your kids eager and ready to brush their teeth.
6Best Budget Zero Waste Toothpaste: Uncle Harry’s Anise Toothpaste
Why We Rank This the Best Budget Zero Waste Toothpaste
At only $6.00 USD per 3 oz glass jar, this manages to be one of the most affordable zero waste toothpastes without compromising on the quality of ingredients.
With several flavors, proven oral hygiene benefits, and a low monetary barrier to entry, this is an excellent product. And if you find yourself enjoying this brand, they also sell 1.5 pound jars in all of the listed flavors. With that much toothpaste, you’ll be setup for at least a year.
Make Your Own: Zero Waste Toothpaste Recipe
There are plenty of zero waste toothpaste options on the market but, if you’ve got the time and the energy to do a little DIY work, you can make your own homemade toothpaste by following this simple recipe. It’s incredibly satisfying and, if you source your ingredients ethically and sustainably, it’s the closest you’ll get to a true zero waste toothpaste.
DIY Zero Waste Toothpaste Ingredients
This is by no means a comprehensive list of ingredients, but it is enough to make your first batch. After that, you can modify it however you choose.
- Baking Soda
- Coconut Oil
- Essential Oils
- Sweet Spices
- Activated Charcoal Powder
- Bentonite Clay
DIY Zero Waste Toothpaste Recipe
Now that you have your ingredients it’s time to combine them through a few easy steps:
- Gently melt the coconut oil over low heat.
- Mix your ingredients together. We’ve purposefully refrained from providing measurements because this step is highly dependent on your preferences, so you’ll need to decide exactly how much of each ingredient to add.
- Add your dry ingredients to the coconut oil.
- Let your toothpaste cool.
- Store it in a repurposed glass or metal container.
DIY Eco-Friendly Tooth Powder
You can make this tooth powder in bathes and store it for years, because the ingredients naturally prevent bacteria growth.
- Bentonite Clay
- Calcium carbonate powder
- Baking Soda
- Essential oil (Your choice)
Mix together 1/4 cup bentonite clay, 3 tablespoons of calcium carbonate powder, one tablespoon of baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil (peppermint is a great choice).
Store in a glass jar with a lid.
DIY Zero Waste Toothpaste Usage
Now that you’ve got your very own DIY toothpaste, just dip your toothbrush into the jar and then brush your teeth as normal.
Remember that because this is zero waste, all natural toothpaste, it will not foam up in your mouth. This sensation may be strange at first, but you’ll come to love it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Zero Waste Toothpaste
Can I Get ADA Approved Zero Waste Toothpaste?
You can get minimal waste toothpastes that are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) approved, but the only options right now come in plastic tubes.9 So, while the toothpaste is ethically and sustainably produced, the packaging is not.
If you are looking for an ADA approved toothpaste that is, at least, better for the environment, check out Tom’s of Maine’s Simply White Toothpaste. It comes in a variety of flavors (including clean mint, fresh mint, spearmint, and mild fruit), does not contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and is cruelty free.
It’s not perfect, but it is a good start in your endeavor for low waste living. And remember, low waste living should not come at a negative cost to your health. There are many other ways to engage with sustainability and conservation efforts without buying zero waste toothpaste.
Are There Any Sustainable Toothpaste Brands Without Fluoride?
There are many sustainable toothpaste brands without fluoride. One of the best is listed above, Dirt Don’t Hurt’s Activated Charcoal Toothpaste. It is, at once, free of fluoride and packed with natural, locally sourced ingredients.
There are many other options, in fact, most zero waste toothpastes are fluoride free. However, you should always do a bit of research before committing to a toothpaste. Some do contain fluoride, however those companies that promote their fluoride toothpastes almost always have an alternative for customers looking to go fluoride free.
Can I Get Zero Waste Toothpaste with Fluoride?
You can absolutely get zero waste toothpaste with fluoride, just take a look at Etee’s Chewpaste, it comes with and without fluoride depending on your preferences, it’s also the best zero waste toothpaste on the market.
However, there are a lot of zero waste toothpastes or powders that do not contain fluoride, so make sure you do your research before committing to a brand.
Many brands avoid fluoride because its often difficult to source calcium florine, natural fluoride. Most big name toothpaste companies use sodium fluorine which is a synthetic alternative to calcium florine. The production of this industrial version is incredibly harmful to the environment.10
However, if you find a company, like Etee, that sources their fluoride ethically and sustainably, you will be minimizing the environmental impact of your toothpaste.4
Is Biodegradable Toothpaste Really Safe for the Planet?
Very few products are wholly free from environmental impact, but biodegradable toothpaste is, at least, better for the planet because both the packaging and the ingredients can be naturally and sustainably sourced.
However, the impact of each low waste toothpaste is dependent on the company that is providing it. Some focus on ethically and sustainably sourcing ingredients while still using plastic in either the container for the toothpaste or the shipping, other companies, like Etee, don’t use any plastic and have, effectively, removed all potential contaminants from their toothpaste.
It depends on the company, and it depends on how much you are willing to pay. Lower waste toothpaste is almost always more expensive than shelf bought toothpaste. Ethically sourcing organic materials costs more money, equitably paying workers a living wage costs more money, and not using plastic often also costs more money. These are not cheap options, but they can reduce your footprint. And, as Uncle Harry’s Anise Toothpaste proves, some companies are able to produce budget-friendly, environmentally friendly products, but that’s pretty rare.
So, before you buy your next toothpaste, do a little research on the ingredients, shipping, and treatment of workers. That’s the only way to decide whether a product is really safe for the planet.
Do Refillable Toothpaste Holders Actually Work?
Yes, refillable toothpaste holders can work, but it depends on the holder. Most zero waste toothpastes come in a glass jar which is meant to be reused. That’s why so many of these companies send refills in compostable pouches. Once the pouch is open, you just pour it into the glass container.
It’s the same with DIY recipes. So long as you wash out the container, you can absolutely put more toothpaste in it.
Where Can I Find Plastic Free Toothpaste and Non-Plastic Toothpaste?
One of the best places to find plastic free and non-plastic toothpaste is on Etsy. There are many eco-conscious, individually-owned or family owned businesses with an Etsy storefront, and it’s worth taking a look through their products.8
You should, however, try to buy from their own websites, if possible, as Etsy takes a substantial cut from any purchase made through their website.
There are also plenty of lists from other reputable companies or media sites that will give you a healthy selection of zero waste toothpastes.
Will No Waste Toothpaste Prevent Cavities?
If you are looking at purchasing a fluoride free toothpaste, then you will need to look over the ingredients list. While yes, no waste toothpaste can absolutely prevent cavities, check the brand to ensure that the necessary ingredients are included.
Our top five toothpastes do contain the requisite ingredients including, but not limited to, calcium florine (naturally sourced fluoride), activated charcoal, and bentonite clay. All of these ingredients will help prevent tooth decay, but it’s not always enough.
If you are in a position to do so, ask a dentist if they have any zero waste toothpaste recommendations. They will be able to point you in the direction of the best toothpastes for your teeth and gums.12
As the no plastic, zero waste toothpaste market expands, there are more options than ever before. While you won’t find many in stores, there are plenty of brands to consider. But that doesn’t mean zero waste toothpaste is for everyone. Depending on your budget, lifestyle, medical conditions, etc. you may want to look at other ways of reducing the environmental consequences of your purchases, such as purchasing a tree planting carbon offset from one of the top carbon offset providers, but if you can invest in eco-friendly toothpaste, give it a go! (Measure your personal emissions using a footprint calculator first.)
Zero waste toothpaste is a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfill each year, and with so many biodegradable alternatives available, by using this eco-friendly solution, you can have a big impact on your personal footprint.
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