According to the Australian Environmental Toothbrush website, over 30 million toothbrushes are used and disposed of by Australians annually, amounting to approximately 1000 tonnes of landfill each year. The plastic they’re made of won’t break down in our lifetime. Nor within the lifetime of our children. Imagine that on a global scale. This is what inspired a Brisbane dentist to invent the wonderful Environmental toothbrush.
Thankfully they are easy to get hold of in this country too and you may well find them in your local health food store. If not you can get them from Living Naturally (the soapnut people) and of course they sell them on Amazon 🙂 I recommend ordering a few from Living Naturally when you get your soapnuts 😉
These toothbrushes are lovely and they come wrapped in nothing but a little cardboard box. Being made of bamboo they are safely compostable if you remove the bristles – they haven’t been able to find natural bristles yet so they’re made of a BPA-free polymer, as they explain here, but still this toothbrush is far superior to one made entirely of plastic.
We use our toothbrushes for cleaning the bathroom when our teeth have finished with them.
Toothpaste is very difficult to find without plastic, so let us know if you find any. We’ve just discovered Remineralizing Tooth Salve, haven’t tried it yet but it looks very promising. It’s made by Ophir Naturals and we came across it at Living Naturally. These little tabs come in a glass jar (unfortunately it does have a plastic lid) and according to the manufacturer, they enable the teeth to re-propogate enamel through the process of remineralization (you can read the scientific details here). They’re vegan, sustainable and fair trade; and their customer testimonials are very impressive. It’s quite expensive but if it does as it claims it’ll be worth every penny for what you’ll save on dental work. I’m really looking forward to trying these – I’ll let you know how we get on 🙂
post script: 10.42pm – we’ve now tried them and, well, the soapy taste is gonna take some getting used to – Miranda ate a cake afterwards to get rid of the taste 😉 – but I’m so encouraged by the testimonials on their website that I have high-hopes for their effect on my teeth and I will continue using them 😀
pps: Just wanted to add that I’m now really enjoying Ophir Remineralizing tooth salve – it’s so soft on my teeth and I got used to the taste very quickly. Unlike conventional toothpaste, this tooth salve is not abrasive. It cleans your teeth like you clean the rest of your body – with soap. And it is genuinely effective at getting your teeth back to their natural pearly colour! It’s worth noting that it’s not actually a good idea to use abrasives on your teeth too often because if you grind down the enamel you’ll be able to see through to the dentine underneath which is yellow 😀
For those who prefer the more conventional minty white toothpaste, you can buy Denttabs!
According to their website, DENTTABS Toothpaste Tablets are THE sustainable alternative to toothpaste. They are 100% plastic-free, ecological and free from preservatives, artificial stabilizers and any other unnecessary ingredients! They do a lovely job polishing your teeth once a week (if you’re using the Ophir Naturals the rest of the time) or for every day use if you prefer. They’re available with fluoride or without. Find a zero waste shop near you and ask them to stock them, or google them to find out where you can buy them online. They come in a glass jar, with refills in paper bags.
Plastic-free VEGAN floss
Georganics Charcoal Dental Floss is a natural floss made with bamboo charcoal fibre, candelilla wax and peppermint essential oil. This 30 metres floss clew is packed in a zero-waste and plastic-free glass container with a metal dispensing lid to allow you to easily cut the floss. When you’ve used up all the dental floss you buy refills to put in your little glass dispenser. We found this in Infinity Foods health food shop in Brighton so check out your local health food store and if you can’t find it there you can order it online 😀
We use natural volcanic alum stone instead of packaged deodorant and we get on very well with it. After washing and drying your skin, you just wet the stone, rub it under your arms and leave your skin to air dry. Rinse the stone, dry it and put it somewhere safe for next time. One stone will last for months. This really works!
Admittedly I don’t often do activities that make me sweat but when I occasionally do get hot and sweaty and have been a bit worried that I’m starting to smell, I notice a few minutes later that the smell has completely gone. It’s like the alum, which inhibits the growth of the microbes which cause the smell, takes a couple of minutes to neutralise them. So even if you get sweaty and start to notice an unwelcome odour, you’ll find that it disappears after a few minutes 😀 When this has happened to me I check my skin again at the end of the day and find it smells lovely and clean, not a suggestion of anything unpleasant. The only thing to be aware of is that your clothes may start to smell if they are in close contact with your armpits, so it’s best to wear things that are loose under your arms so that they don’t become contaminated if you do sweat. The stone will only keep your skin smelling sweet, not the fabric that sticks to it 😉
You can get the potassium alum stone from Natural Spa Supplies – and you’ll find a lot of other gorgeous stuff in their shop too. “Alum stone can also be used as a fantastic natural aftershave, ideal for sensitive skin, which reduces the appearance of shaving burn, and can help stem bleeding from nicks. Alum styptic have long been used by traditional barbers. In addition, Alum stone can also be used to relieve insect bites.” They send it to you wrapped in paper and an eco-friendly paper padded envelope 😀
For those who feel they need a little more protection, Miranda uses this in the summer when she’s cycling. She gets really sweaty and says this works brilliantly. It’s a lovely cream which goes a long way because you only need a very thin layer on your skin. Packaged in a glass jar with a metal lid, it is provided by the lovely people at Living Naturally. It comes in Rose & Lavender, Citrus & Ylang, or fragrance-free.
There’s no longer any need to use disposable products for your monthly curse – go to Earthwise Girls to get everything you need in terms of washable, reusable, organic, natural, eco-friendly alternatives 😀
Hand Creams and Moisturisers
This cream is gorgeous. It’s organic, it’s vegan and it’s the best moisturising cream I’ve found. It’s perfect for making dry skin (hands and body) silky smooth (I used it on my tattoo and it was perfect for the job), and it says on the tin you can also use it on your face. It smells heavenly and comes in a tin with a foil seal over the top. No plastic at all. You can get it from Holland & Barrett 😀
Alternatively, you can get a selection of soapnut moisturisers in glass jars from Living Naturally 🙂
For those who don’t want to wash their hair and bodies with soapnut water, Living Naturally provides lovely soap and shampoo bars. You can buy all sorts of varieties, singly or 5 at a time. If you buy one singly, it comes it a little drawstring linen bag; if you buy 5 for a little discount, they come wrapped together in a single sheet of paper.