The Best Zero Waste Toothpaste Options

zero waste toothpaste and toothbrush

More than 400 million toothpaste tubes are being thrown into landfills each year in the United States alone, and more than 1.5 billion being tossed worldwide. 

According to Bite Toothpaste, that’s more than 50 Empire State Buildings worth of toothpaste tubes ending up in landfills or oceans.

For this reason, it is important for us to take a hard look at more sustainable options and aim for zero waste toothpaste alternatives.

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WHY SWITCH TO ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE (The Problem with Conventional Toothpaste)

empty toothpaste tubes

All of the 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes that are being tossed into landfills are ending up there because they are not recyclable or reusable.  

Plastic toothpaste tubes replaced metal tubes because they are more durable and do not split open as easily.  However, today’s toothpaste tubes are more commonly made of multi-layer tubes, that while making them more durable, also make them impossible to easily recycle.  

As a result, most recycling programs will not accept conventional toothpaste tubes since it is too complicated to separate the layers to recycle the materials. 

Plus, many of the discarded tubes still contain harsh chemical residues, including sodium lauryl sulfate, silica, triclosan, artificial preservatives, dyes, sweeteners, and flavors that can be harmful to our environment and health. 

We want to avoid these chemicals because many of them have been linked to harmful health effects such as neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, cancer, endocrine disruption, and cancer, according to the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.  

For this reason, we want to avoid buying toothpaste with these ingredients and keep them out of landfills and oceans when they are discarded.

Zero waste toothpaste can be an easy solution!

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!

ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE: SHOULD YOUR TOOTHPASTE CONTAIN FLUORIDE?

There seems to be much debate over this topic, and it boils down to making your own personal choice based on your own research. 

I have been debating this myself, especially for my children, for years.  

It turns out that fluoride might not be as great as we have been led to believe.

You probably hear from your dentist all the time about how fluoride will protect your teeth, keep them strong and healthy, and help prevent cavities.  

However, in the past few years, I started noticing that a lot of natural toothpaste options advertise that they are fluoride-free.  So I began wondering why that was a selling point and began looking for answers.  

I listened to a relevant episode on the Positively Green Podcast (Episode #6) called Is Fluoride Causing Your Acne? with Melissa Gallico as the guest.  

In this episode, they discussed fluoride in detail and all the reasons you may want to avoid it.  It answered a lot of the questions I had about fluoride. 

Topics Included: 

  • The history of fluoride 
  • Why it’s added to water
  • Does it prevent cavities as dental professionals claim?
  • Does it cause acne?
  • Health effects beyond acne
  • How to avoid fluoride and detox your body
  • Fluoride and the environment

According to Melissa Gallico, fluoride is one of the biggest pollution scandals and has many potentially harmful effects on both our health and the environment. I highly recommend you give this episode a listen!

WHAT MAKES IT ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE? (Sustainable Toothpaste Packaging)

Bite toothpaste bits

When you are evaluating zero waste toothpaste options, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Your goal will be to minimize waste as much as possible and avoiding plastic if at all possible.  

You’ll want to look for toothpaste options that meet one or more of these goals: 

  • Compostable – Make sure that the outer packaging is compostable.  This will typically mean that it is in cardboard or paper. Some brands now have compostable “plastic-like” pouches as well. Pay attention to whether or not it is home compostable or industrial compostable.  Choose products that fit your lifestyle. If you do not compost at home, then compostable options will not benefit you or the environment. 
  • Reusable – Also look for reusable containers, such as glass or metal. Sustainable products can be used over and over again. 
  • Recyclable – At the very least, make sure that the product can be recycled. While this is the least preferred option, since recycling isn’t always fully achieved, it is better than the alternative of tossing it in the trash. Conventional toothpaste tubes are not recyclable, but some offer a recyclable metal tube. 

A GRADUAL TRANSITION TO ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE

zero waste toothpaste options

Remember, aiming for a zero-waste lifestyle is about the journey, not the destination.  

None of us are perfect.

In fact, that’s the one thing we have in common.  We are not perfect but we are making progress.  

Each positive decision you make to reduce your waste and choose clean, safe ingredients is a step in the right direction.  

When selecting a new zero waste toothpaste, you will find that made of them are more natural products with clean ingredients.  So your first step may be to get used to the more natural ingredients, natural flavorings, and different textures. Then, find a natural toothpaste that is also in zero waste packaging.

DAVIDS NATURAL TOOTHPASTE

If you are new to natural and zero waste toothpaste, Davids natural toothpaste may be a good first step on your journey.  It is most like conventional toothpaste since it comes in a similar metal tube and has a comparable taste to other natural peppermint toothpaste.

Other Key Features:

  • EWG certified
  • Recyclable metal tube
  • No artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives
  • SLS Free (no sodium lauryl sulfate)
  • Fluoride Free
  • Vegan
  • Not tested on animals

How do I recycle the metal tube?

Refer to David’s FAQ page on their website for specific instructions, but it is possible to recycle the metal tube if you clean the excess toothpaste from the inside of the tube.  

The cap is also recyclable since it is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) – symbol #2.

The metal tube roller is also recyclable, but consider reusing it first. When placing subsequent orders on their website, enter the following message on Line 2 of the address field at checkout: ***REMOVE TUBE KEYS*** 

They also have a Tube Key Incentive program where you can return 20 tube rollers to receive one free tube of toothpaste. 

Visit David’s FAQ page on their website for all the details. 

Additional Considerations for Davids Natural Toothpaste

One thing I did not mention yet, is that Davids aluminum tubes are lined with a “Food Grade Non-BPA liner.” While this barrier helps to prevent leaching of the aluminum tube material into the paste, it is essentially lined with plastic.  

I prefer to avoid all plastic liners (BPA and BPA-free alternatives) in metal cans or tube products, if at all possible.  

Related reading: Is BPA-Free Plastic Safe? 

I like the familiarity of Davids toothpaste since it is so similar to conventional toothpaste, and all of the natural ingredients and the fact that the metal tube can be recycled.  I do have concerns about the Non-BPA plastic liner in the tube. I think it’s a decent choice overall, but feel there are better options available.

Available at: Davids or Amazon

BITE TOOTHPASTE BITS

Bite Toothpaste Bits
Photo credit: Bite Toothpaste Bits

Kick the tube with Bite Toothpaste Bits! 

These toothpaste tablets are my personal favorite and the toothpaste that I use daily.  

I love the vegan-friendly ingredients, the zero-waste packaging, and the flavor!  It’s refreshing but not too strong; leaving my mouth is happy and clean! 

The toothpaste bits are easy to use.  Just pop one in your mouth, chew until it forms a paste, wet your toothbrush, and brush as usual.  

Best yet, Bite toothpaste bits keep oceans clean by using no plastic at all.  The refills come in a compostable pouch and are shipped in sustainable packaging – either kraft envelopes padded with post-consumer newspapers or in fully recyclable cardboard boxes with paper tape.  

Additionally, you can read more about their sustainable shipping practices and how they ship their products using existing postal routes to cut down on their carbon footprint. 

Other Key Features:

  • Indefinitely refillable glass jars with aluminum lids
  • Home compostable refill pouches
  • Recyclable 
  • Naturally whitening
  • Vegan
  • Fluoride Free
  • Free of harsh chemicals 
  • Free of artificial flavoring
  • Sulfate and paraben free
  • Not tested on animals

Available at: Bite Toothpaste Bits

The Dirt (Trace Mineral Tooth Brushing Powder)

This all-natural powder is easy to use and so safe you could eat it!  Just tap your damp toothbrush into the powder and brush as usual. The large glass jar (51 g) is a 6 month supply and comes in a cute mason jar that you will definitely want to reuse! The travel size glass jar (10 g) is also reusable or recyclable and will last for 6 weeks. If you are looking for a zero waste option, please avoid the medium size tub (25 g) as it is reported to be in a plastic container.  

Other Key Features:

  • Easy to use
  • Fluoride-free
  • Available in 3 flavors: Sweet Spice, Super Mint, or Cinna Mint
  • Naturally whitening
  • No GMO-derived Xylitol
  • No corn, soy or gluten

Available at: The Dirt or Amazon

DIRTY HIPPIE TOOTH POWDER

Photo Credit: Dirty Hippie

This remineralizing tooth powder is another great option, but unfortunately, I have not been able to try it since they do not ship to the United States. I decided to list here because it might be an option for you! 

They offer many zero waste products, including soap, shampoo and conditioner bars, safety razors, eco floss, lip balms, deodorant, and more. I am hoping to be able to try these out someday soon if/when they become able to ship to the U.S. 

Other Key Features:

  • Organic and natural ingredients
  • Refillable glass jar
  • Refills are shipped in paper
  • Fluoride-free
  • Glycerin-free
  • Available in mint and cinnamon flavors
  • Naturally whitening

Available at: Dirty Hippie

GEORGANICS NATURAL TOOTHPASTE

Georganics natural toothpaste is a natural remineralizing toothpaste that is high in key minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.  All of the ingredients are organic and food-grade certified.  

Other Key Features:

  • Recyclable glass jar
  • Aluminum lid
  • Fluoride-free
  • SLS free
  • Available in many flavors
  • Whitening properties
  • Kid-friendly options and kid-friendly orange flavor

Zero to Landfill Scheme (for UK residents)

Georganics developed a Zero To Landfill scheme in mid-2019 which has helped cut down on landfill waste… to zero.

If you live in the UK, you can send back any Georganics products that can’t be composted or recycled at home – free of charge.  I love this program (and wish I lived in the UK to participate in this)! Georganics is doing all they can to keep toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes out of landfills! 

Available at: Georganics or Amazon

UNCLE HARRY’S NATURAL TOOTHPASTE

Uncle Harry’s natural toothpaste is similar to the others listed here.  It is also remineralizing and strengthens teeth by providing calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. 

You can dip your toothbrush right in the jar! The essential oils in the toothpaste are naturally antiseptic. 

When I tried this toothpaste, I ordered the children’s version because it contains less spearmint essential oil for flavoring, which they claim makes it milder in flavor. 

However, it was still pretty strong in my opinion. If you have brave kiddos, give it a try! If your children are like mine (i.e. picky), then maybe try a different option, like the kid-friendly Georganics toothpaste tablets. 

Other Key Features:

  • Glass jar (but plastic lid)
  • Fluoride-free
  • SLS-free
  • Free of carrageenan, triclosan, artificial sweeteners
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free

Warning: Contains Bentonite clay, which can contain naturally occurring trace minerals, including lead.

Available at: Uncle Harry’s or Amazon

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!

DIY NATURAL TOOTHPASTE IN GLASS JARS

DIY coconut zero waste toothpaste

If you are more of a DIY person and prefer to try making your own instead, you can find an easy recipe on the Simple Life Mom’s website.  It contains just 3 ingredients and can be made affordably.  

(* I am not a dentist. So please consult with yours to determine if this toothpaste is right for you and your family. Also, seek advice about using essential oils for you and your children before trying this toothpaste. As always, do your own research before starting anything new.)

Other Key Features:

  • Easy to make
  • Cost savings
  • Coconut oil contains minerals like potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and selenium. 
  • Naturally whitening due to baking soda
  • Reuse your own glass jar indefinitely

Recipe:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp baking soda
  • 10 drops of peppermint, citrus or cinnamon leaf essential oil (*research and consult your doctor about the safety of using essential oils with children)

Instructions:

  1. Warm the coconut oil until it melts (above 76 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. Mix all ingredients in a small glass dish or jar. Dip your toothbrush in the jar or use a small spoon or spatula to scoop a little toothpaste onto your toothbrush.
  3. Brush as usual.

NEXT STEPS FOR YOUR ZERO WASTE ORAL ROUTINE

Are you ready to take the next steps in your zero waste oral routine?  

In my post 12 Zero Waste Goals for the New Year, I discuss my (almost) plastic-free dental routine in detail.  While I have not become 100% plastic-free, I have made a lot of progress by switching to a more sustainable toothbrush and floss.  

If you are ready to make a few more zero waste swaps, try out some of these alternatives. 

  1. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush or Norwex Toothbrush.
  2. Swap your floss for a zero waste and clean ingredient version such as Dental Lace.
  3. Consider zero waste mouthwash alternatives such as a tongue scraper. Read the 5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Tongue Scraper to learn all about the benefits, including having fresh breath. 
  4. Purchase mouthwash tablets from Georganics that dissolve in water, come in a refillable glass jar and contain natural and non-toxic ingredients. The tablets are also available on Amazon.  
  5. You can also make your own DIY Mouthwash like the recipe I found by Zero Waste Chef. Be sure to use caution around children since this recipe contains alcohol. 

No matter where you are on your zero waste journey, I hope that you find this resource helpful in making your zero waste toothpaste routine. Please let us know what products or DIY recipes you use and recommend in the comments!

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zero waste toothpaste - Pinterest image

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!

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2 Comments

  1. Kristin Law
    May 6 / 11:38 AM

    Did you know Uncle Harry’s contains lead? That has kept me from purchasing it in the past.

    • Rebekah
      May 6 / 2:08 PM

      Thanks for your comment, Kristin. It does contain Bentonite clay, which can contain naturally occurring trace minerals, including lead. I have chosen not to use this toothpaste either, but I know some people do use that ingredient in their products. I will update the post to include this warning. Thanks for caring! XO, Rebekah

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