This month is Plastic Free July, a campaign created by The Plastic Free Foundation to bring awareness to our high consumption of single-use plastics. Each year, millions of people around the world take on the challenge of refusing various plastic products such as plastic bags, water bottles, straws, and even oral care products.
According to National Geographic’s recent article, a billion toothbrushes are thrown away and added to landfill each year in the U.S. alone. That is nearly 50 million pounds of waste in oral care we can prevent. It takes approximately 400 years for toothbrushes to decompose.
Substituting your plastic dental products won’t affect your ability to have healthy pearly whites. There are simple changes you can make to reduce your plastic consumption while maintaining good oral health, and here’s how:
2. Use dental floss made of silk. You can buy floss in a refillable glass container to reduce your waste even further. Dental Lace floss is a great choice as they package a glass container and two refillable floss spools for approximately $12. Although this alternative is pricier than the average floss, it decomposes faster.
3. Switch to 100% plastic-free toothpaste. Our normal toothpaste tubes go straight to landfill once we’ve finished it. Bite is a tablet form toothpaste packaged in a glass jar that you can have refilled for a one-time purchase of $10 or a monthly subscription of $7.50. If you want a paste consistency you can try David’s toothpaste that comes in a recyclable metal tube for about $10.
4. Avoid industrial mouthwash. We are most familiar with buying mouthwash in a plastic container, but now brands like Well Earth Goods and Georganics have made a tablet version that liquefies when you add it to water. Georganics is $14 for a three month supply.
Before making the switch, be sure to use your current products to the end of their productive lives. Those products have already been purchased and will inevitably go to landfill.
If you live in San Diego check out Earthwell Refill for refillable bathing soaps, cleaning supplies, and plastic-free products.
The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center encourages you to participate in this campaign and reduce your consumption of single-use plastics. You do not have to change everything to make a difference. Make the changes that are comfortable for your lifestyle.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” – Anne Marie Bonneau