The Environmental Impact of Dental Floss

The other day I ran out of dental floss. Typically, I would buy a six-pack at Costco and not think twice about what dental floss is made from and if there are sustainable alternatives. Well, today I decided to do some research on dental floss. WOW! I was surprised at what I discovered.

Most dental floss is made from waxed nylon and of course it’s in a plastic container. Nylon is actually derived from crude oil and takes years to decompose in a landfill. I would have never guessed that a piece of floss can take close to 80 years to decompose. I immediately felt sick to my stomach when I started to think about all of the strands of floss my husband and I have used in the past 20 years.

A key component of good oral hygiene is flossing. So, what alternatives do we have? One alternative is silk floss which can be put into a household compost bin and will decompose in about 90 days. However, the big drawback on silk floss is that it’s made from silkworms and is not vegan.

An alternative that I discovered and am very happy with is Bamboo Charcoal floss coated with vegan Candililla wax and peppermint essential oil. The floss comes in a glass bottle or a bamboo container that can be refilled. This too cuts down on the waste going into the landfill.

The products I recommend using are from ME.MOTHEREARTH. If you’ve done any research on the bamboo industry, you’ll know that China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of bamboo. I wanted to learn more about where ME gets their products, so I spoke with the owner. She did confirm that the products are manufactured in China, but she also assured me that she has verified the worker’s conditions in the factory and has done her research on where her products are manufactured. This did make me feel better and I made the decision to use their products.

There is no easy answer when looking to be more sustainable. It seems that for every solution there can also be a drawback. I believe it’s important to make an educated decision and for me, I am going to take the sustainable route that benefits Mother Earth.

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