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Three Reasons to Try Low-Waste Toothpaste… and Three Reasons Not to

 

There are so many amazing zero-waste and low-waste options for toothpaste on the market right now! All of these brands are committed to providing dental care without the amount of plastic waste found with conventional toothpaste brands. In this growing industry, there are many benefits to buying zero-waste toothpaste, but there is still room for improvement. Here are the things you should consider before making the decision to try low-waste toothpaste. 

 

Reasons to Try:

 

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1. Environmentally Friendly Packaging

Over a billion plastic toothpaste tubes end up in the landfill every year in the United States. This is because conventional plastic toothpaste tubes are hard to clean and cannot be recycled with the goopy residue inside of them. Low-waste toothpaste reduces this waste by having recyclable packaging and reducing the overall amount of packaging used. 

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2. Natural Ingredients

Low-waste toothpastes are also often made using natural and vegan ingredients. Specific types of low-waste toothpaste, like toothpaste tablets, use fewer chemical preservatives than conventional toothpaste.

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3. Many Are Travel Friendly

Anyone who travels knows the struggle of buying travel-sized toothpaste tubes to fit TSA regulations. With low-waste toothpaste brands, it’s not a problem anymore! Toothpaste tablets are small and easy to carry. There is also no limit on them since they are compressed powder and not a liquid or gel, like conventional toothpaste is. 

I love the way that you can count out the number of tablets that you will need for a trip and put them in an even smaller container!

 

Reasons Not to Try:

 

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1. Availability

Recently, some low-waste toothpaste brands have been made available more commercially at Target. Although this is a big step toward making low-waste toothpaste more accessible, it is still not as easy to find as conventional toothpaste. If you do not live near a store that sells any, your options can be limited. Most brands of low-waste toothpaste can be purchased online and shipped to you, but the carbon footprint and cost of shipping can make it less convenient to buy. 

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2. Lack of Flouride

Toothpaste itself does not remove plaque and prevent cavities- an ingredient in most toothpaste called fluoride does. Because of this, the American Dental Association and most dentists only approve the use of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is the one vital ingredient that all toothpaste should contain, yet most low-waste toothpaste does not.

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3. Cost

Plastic tubes of toothpaste are usually anywhere from $2 to $10, but low-waste brands usually start around $10 and can be priced even higher from there. You must decide if you think it is worth it and if you can afford to spend extra money on a low-waste toothpaste. Hopefully, we will see these higher prices fall as demand increases. 

 

In Conclusion:

Above all, the most important thing is that the toothpaste is effective. Make sure the toothpaste that you choose can protect both the planet and your teeth. Ask yourself or your dentist: does it reduce plaque and prevent cavities? You should also make sure that the packaging is recyclable and that the overall carbon footprint of your purchase is better. Low-waste toothpaste is not an option for everyone, and the market has a long way to go before it is mainstream. Until then, conventional toothpaste users can try to be less wasteful by using up the full tube before throwing it away and using the right amount to make it last longer. 

 

If you would like to write for Her Campus Mount Holyoke, or if you have any questions or comments for us, please email hc.mtholyoke@hercampus.com

Acadia Ferrero-Lampron is currently a sophmore at Mount Holyoke College, where she is majoring in International Relations. In her free time, she loves to read books, bake sweets, and try new sustainable products.
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