You’ve just eaten a great meal and some time later you notice something stuck between your teeth or you’re just about to head off to bed and you are doing your nightly tooth cleaning ritual.
Not everyone flosses but if you do you might want to know a thing or too about that little spool of floss you are scraping back and forth between your teeth and gums to keep your pearly whites, or not so pearly whites clean. Most little plastic boxes of flossing thread are little plastic boxes of plastic based flossing thread.
I don’t think the providers of dental floss have it in for the earth or the animals or peoples of this planet in fact most producers of plastic items or semi-synthetic “more natural” solutions just didn’t know about the microplastic problem or the longevity of their items – which have ended up creating waste that’s getting into the food chain, the air and the water. It just never occurred to them that their plastic items would become a burden on the planet with everyone using them and a source of daily Microplastic ingestion and creation.
The two major plastics involved here are nylon and a big worded plastic called Polytetrafluoroethylene which they use to coat the nylon so it doesn’t fray (did someone say fray – that means to break up into smaller filaments right?)
Below is what we have on the market for flossing. I have included some plastic free solutions in the mean time to help you in implementing the Plastic Free Manifesto .
Plastic Box and Plastic Thread Floss
As pictured above, this and many other brands of a similar nature are the flossing dental hygiene item generally available from your local supermarkets. Result: Zero hoorays for plastic free.
Plastic Box with Bamboo Thread Floss or Bamboo Polyester Blend
This sort of floss isn’t that much better than the previous one. Still in a plastic container but this time containing a semi-synthetic floss or a blend of semi-synthetic cellulose based thread blended with polyester. As some semi-synthetic cellulose Microparticles have been found at the bottom of the ocean in scientific Microplastic surveys I am not jumping on the regenerated cellulose band wagon that quickly and blending it with polyester as well? Result: Hoor…nope.
Multicoloured plastic toothpicks in plastic boxes. Reminds me of a children’s game called “pick up sticks” I used to play. Result: Zero plastic free hoorays.
Plastic Floss Pick
In my studies I also came across many variants of the “floss pick” which are generally made of polyethylene and plastic floss thread. Result: This gets zero plastic free hoorays.
These are pretty groovy to floss with. They use a thin pressurised jet of water to floss your teeth with and effectively clean a great deal of detritus from your teeth. I used to use one and my teeth would feel marvellous. The big downside is they appear to be completely constructed of plastic and I have not been able to locate a non plastic version. Result: A sadly regretful no hooray.
Glass and Metal Container with a Silk Spool
This little glass jar with a spool of silk thread is a very effective and stylish flossing dispenser. The only thing that could be improved with it is not labelling it with a plastic sticker – can we have some sort of glass pattern maybe for the dispenser? I have since seen some sticker free ones so this isn’t too impossible to improve. You can buy spools of new silk floss to replace your old one when it runs out. Just load it into the glass and metal dispenser and you are good to go again. I have used this style every now and again and am happy with its plastic free results. Result: Hooray! You can find several types if you Click here
Wooden Spool and Silk Thread
I came across this vintage beauty from a simpler pre-plastic age. I wish this was available again. Does anyone out there know if any companies are still producing wooden spooled silk floss? Result: If this was still being manufactured it would get a Hooray!
The humble toothpick – made of small slivers of wood with slightly tapered ends – still found regularly in my local favourite Chinese restaurant. Result: Hooray!
Hope this small article assists you in your plastic free endeavours.
Please write in or leave a comment below especially if you know of any more good plastic free flossing alternatives.
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