How to brush your teeth the eco-friendly way!
We brush our teeth at least twice a day, so surely it makes sense to do it in a way that's eco-friendly. It's something everyone can learn from a very young age – and it also involves finding zero-waste ways to keep your teeth clean!
A regular toothbrush generates 1.5 kilograms of "hidden waste". This means that it's not just the product that produces waste, but also the manufacturing process behind it. Depending on the plastic used, this small object may take anything from 100 to 1,000 years to break down! Yes, that's right. A product that rarely weighs more than 20 grams can take a thousand years to degrade. Isn't that crazy?
As you'll see, there are lots of advantages to brushing your teeth the eco-friendly way. It lets you look after your health and use less water – but that's not all!
Find out how to brush your teeth without harming the planet, with a little help from Lamazuna! As with so many other things, it's really not that complicated to do this in a zero-waste way. You just need to change a few habits that will lead to big positive changes in your everyday life – and that of your family!
Ready to find out more about eco-friendly teeth cleaning? Then read on!
Why should you replace your plastic toothbrush?
Handles made from non-recyclable plastic
Every year, some 100 million toothbrushes are sold – and that's just in France! (Source: Info Durable). On a global scale, this figure goes up to five billion a year! Of course, none of those toothbrushes are recycled – despite what you might think or hear. Often, like so much other plastic waste, they end up on our beaches and in our oceans, impacting the life of marine species.
Fortunately, there's now a company called TerraCycle (who we work with to recycle the heads of our eco-friendly toothbrushes), which offers to recycle regular toothbrushes. This is a great way to stem the tide of pollution already generated by the plastic toothbrushes on the market. But you can go further and do more by opting for a zero-waste, sustainable toothbrush.
Not only is a regular toothbrush handle made from plastic; the brush also often comes in plastic packaging. So you have plastic wrapped in plastic. That's a lot of plastic pollution for such a small thing. And once you've removed your toothbrush, that packaging goes straight into the bin. So it doesn't serve a purpose for very long... Yes, it does mean that the toothbrush meets certain hygiene standards by not being sold loose and therefore preventing contact with microbes, but wouldn't it be better to opt for a more environmentally friendly solution?
It's true that there are eco-friendly alternatives. out there: cardboard packaging, bamboo toothbrush cases, etc. So it is possible to use high-quality and recyclable packaging materials that don't have a negative impact on nature. Bear in mind that the majority of the world's plastic pollution comes from plastic packaging, so it's time we all adopted alternatives that are not just better for our health, but also for our planet.
Christoph, Sebastian et Wanja, les créateurs d'Hydrophil !
What's the solution? An eco-friendly toothbrush!
A solution does exist! And there are lots of different models too! There are toothbrushes made from wood, bamboo, recycled plastic, etc. At Lamazuna, we decided to go for a replaceable-head toothbrush.
As its name suggests, you can replace the head on this toothbrush by simply removing it from the handle. As for the handle itself, it's made in France from a bioplastic that's 70% derived from castor oil. And the castor oil plant – like all plants – absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows.
The remaining 30% is plastic, to enable the handle to cope with the humidity of a bathroom and absorb the "shock" caused by rubbing the teeth when you brush them. The head can be removed, then all you have to do is snap on a new one! The bristles are nylon, and the hard ABS base is made in Italy. Once your toothbrush is worn out, you don't need to throw the whole brush away! Just remove the head and send it to us, and we'll make sure it's recycled with TerraCycle.
Hydrophil – a brand that we love – opted for a bamboo toothbrush, which makes it 100% natural. Bamboo grows very quickly, and doesn't need artificial irrigation, pesticides or other chemicals. As for the bristles, they're made from a 100% renewable material that's castor oil-based, just like our bristles! The dye used on the handle is 100% natural, and the cardboard packaging can be recycled. So, if you want a 100% natural solution, it would be difficult to find fault with this one!
Change your toothpaste
A regular toothpaste generates too much waste...
Just like a toothbrush, toothpaste also comes in double packaging: the cardboard box (which can usually be recycled) and the plastic tube. The latter cannot be recycled, and takes about 500 years to degrade. Did you know that, on average, we use almost 300 tubes of toothpaste in a lifetime? That's a lot of plastic. Plus, it's estimated that 4% of the toothpaste contained in each tube cannot be used, as it's too difficult to get it out! (Source: Smogey). This means that every year, around the world, some 70,000 tons of toothpaste go directly into the bin! And just to give you an example, the website Planetoscope informs us that from the start of this year to early February, over six million tubes of toothpaste had already been thrown out across the world. It's unbelievable, isn't it? At Lamazuna, we're convinced that we can help to change the world and put a stop to all this waste by adopting new habits.
...and contains harmful ingredients
Have you heard of microbeads? They can be found in lots of personal care products, including toothpastes and exfoliating creams for the face or body. They're supposed to help prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth, and give a toothpaste an abrasive effect, to make your teeth shinier. The problem is that the microbeads found in toothpaste are made from plastic. Or, to be more precise, they are plastic microparticles. And once they've found their way into our wastewater, they often "slip through the net" and into our lakes and rivers.
These microbeads have catastrophic ecological consequences, as they attract toxic substances, such as endocrine disruptors and heavy metals. Then, when they're ingested by marine animals, pollutants accumulate in their stomachs, putting their lives in danger.
Fortunately, in France, plastic microbeads were banned in exfoliating and cleaning products in early 2018. They've also been banned in many other countries. These days, natural alternatives are used, such as crushed nut shells or sand.
Other harmful ingredients can also be found in tubes of toothpaste, including petrochemicals, which are bad for your health. We couldn't possibly let you ingest all those nasty substances every day! And that's why we set ourselves the challenge of producing a safer, purer, more natural toothpaste... And we think we've succeeded!
Opt for a 100% natural, zero-waste toothpaste
Yes, it does exist! There is an alternative that doesn't contain microbeads or petrochemicals: an eco-friendly, 100% natural toothpaste that's perfectly safe for your health. And it is, of course, a solid toothpaste !
At Lamazuna, there are three different versions. They're all made with 100% naturally derived ingredients, free of sulphates, vegan, and handmade (naturellement) in France.
The first one we'd like to present is our Peppermint solid toothpaste, for long-lasting freshness! It's made with calcium carbonate, to keep your tooth enamel healthy and your teeth looking good! Next up is our Cinnamon toothpaste, with antimicrobial properties. And finally, there's the Lemon & Sage toothpaste, which will help to protect your gums from daily damage.
You'll find coconut oil in all our toothpastes. This oil contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial properties, so it helps to reduce plaque, making it good for your oral health.
And there's more good news... All our toothpastes are eco-affordable! You might find them a little expensive at first, but they're not really, when you consider that they last twice as long as a regular toothpaste! Plus, there won't be any toothpaste left in the tube and wasted, as there isn't a tube in the first place!
Finally, as you might expect, the Lamazuna solid toothpaste is held in a completely recyclable box. Just don't forget to recycle it! ????
Save water when you brush your teeth
It's really important to watch how much water you use
Water is becoming a rare commodity. It's essential that we preserve it. Even though water covers 70% of the Earth's surface, the percentage of fresh water is just 2.5%. It's a drop in the ocean (for want of a better expression), yet this fresh water is essential for life on Earth.
Clearly, it's important to be careful about how much water you use on a daily basis. We know what you're going to say... You can't make a difference on your own. No, you can't. But if everyone makes an effort, it can make a HUGE difference! And there are lots of ways to cut down on water use!
Don't leave the tap running while you're brushing your teeth
For some people, this is obvious, and yet it's not that obvious for everyone. But it's never too late to start, and it's so easy. It's just a matter of getting into a new habit: turning the tap off! A leaking tap wastes about 120 litres of water a day. So can you imagine how much water goes straight down the drain when you leave the tap on for a few minutes? Every time you brush your teeth, it's about 10 litres. That's much too much!
Remember to turn the tap off when you brush.
Only use the water you need when you clean your teeth
According to La Ville est Belle, 250ml of water is all you need to brush your teeth! To give you an idea of how much that is, a can of drink holds 330ml. So basically, one glass of water is enough. Plus, by using less water, you'll save money and do something good for the planet by being more ecological!
Step 1: fill a glass or mug with water and dip your toothbrush in it.
Step 2: brush your teeth as usual.
Step 3: use some of the water in the glass/mug to rinse your mouth.
Step 4: use a little more of the water left over to rinse your toothbrush.
Step 5 (the last one!): pour any remaining water into your wash basin to remove any traces of toothpaste.
And you can do all that with just 250 millilitres of water. Easy-peasy!
While we're on the subject, you might be interested to know that Hydrophil (one of our favourite brands) sells a "water-neutral" toothbrush mug (i.e. made using as little water as possible). Plus, the brand donates 10% of profits from each sale to the aid organisation Viva Con Agua, which is dedicated to improving access to safe drinking water all over the world.
It's probably clear by now that if you want to brush your teeth the eco-friendly way, there aren't that many ways to do it... But – and it's a good but! – it's really not that difficult. Just follow two simple rules: use a zero-waste toothbrush and a natural, solid toothpaste! Once you've got that sorted out, you're already on your way to becoming an expert in eco-friendly tooth brushing! It goes without saying that you can share these tips with family and friends, to get others to follow your shining example! As for saving water when you brush your teeth, that's really not difficult either. You only need a small amount to clean your teeth correctly.
So, when are you going to start?