Day 4: Brushing your teeth 'zero waste'

Picture of Clara del Rey
Day 4: Brushing your teeth 'zero waste'
by Clara del Rey - 18 June 2015
Clara del Rey // 18 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

(Almost) waste-free tooth brush, mouth wash, and tooth paste | © Clara del Rey

(Almost) waste-free tooth brush, mouth wash, and tooth paste | © Clara del Rey

This is what a waste-free teeth-kit looks like: bamboo brush, homemade paste and concentrated herbal mouthwash, stored in a glass jar. If you give it a quick thought, disposable plastic toothbrushes are a big environmental concern. Each of us uses an average of one toothbrush per month that systematically gets tossed to the landfill, because they are recycled in only very few countries. There are several proposals to avoid toothbrush waste, but for me, bamboo seems to be the most practical one. Bamboo grows fast and can biodegrade, so it keeps my conscience clear. I also make my own toothpaste with only two ingredients: coconut oil and baking soda (you can add essential oils of your choice if you like), and it truly works well for me, my teeth are whiter than ever, but you can also buy your paste in an aluminum tube, and make sure to recycle it properly.

Lauren Stinger, from Trash is for Tossers, inspired me with her recipe for homemade toothpaste. She writes in her blog that there are at least three good reasons why she eliminated storebought toothpaste from her bathroom:

  1. The packaging: Yes, this is a very obvious aspect. Most tooth pastes come packaged in plastic or aluminum tubes, plus an additional carton. Self-made toothpaste can be produced in greater amounts and stored in a glass jar.
  2. The ingredients: Have you ever wondered what the ingredients of your tooth paste are? Just to name two examples: Triclosan, which is commonly found in tooth care products, has been linked to cancer, and socium laryl sulfate (SFS), which makes your tooth paste foam evenly, can potentially harm your gums – yuck!
  3. The savings: You can produce your own tooth paste for as little as one tenth of the regular store price. That alone is quite a good reason to try it out, if you ask me.

So, check out Lauren’s video tutorial for creating your own, homemade tooth past and try it yourself!

Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."