In the current climate, many of us are making small yet significant changes to our ways of life in order to benefit the planet and humanity.
However, while eating less meat and walking to work are both admirable and effective steps towards a greener future, one seemingly insignificant product sitting in your bathroom could be undermining some of your efforts.
That product? Dental floss.
Along with switching to an eco-friendly toothbrush, and a zero waste toothpaste, that little box of floss needs to get the boot too. Haven’t ever heard of zero waste floss? Don’t worry.. That’s where we’re here to help!
This article may contain affiliate links. See our full disclosure here.
The Trouble with Traditional Floss
Not only does dental floss traditionally come in a non-biodegradable plastic container, but traditional floss itself is something of a disaster for the natural world.
Because most dental floss is made out of nylon, which isn’t biodegradable or compostable, pieces of floss either end up in landfills, or worse, in the ocean, where it poses a significant danger for marine life.
But it’s not only the environment that suffers. Some traditional floss brands coat the floss in a product called PFAS or Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. Not only do these substances never break down, but they’ve also been linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and hormone disruption.
Luckily, there are plenty of sustainable dental floss products available on the market, so you can make the switch today and never have to worry about these harmful chemicals entering your mouth as you floss again.
Best Zero Waste Floss
From mulberry silk to vegan-friendly corn fiber, there are several different materials used to make zero waste dental floss. Browse our selection of the best eco-friendly dental floss to suit your needs!
Etee stocks a Gently Minted Waxed Silk Dental Floss product made from mulberry silk and candelilla wax. Since both of these materials are able to biodegrade naturally, this floss can be considered eco-friendly.
The floss is naturally flavored with peppermint, so it’s great for keeping your mouth feeling fresh and clean after meals.
Etee’s dental floss comes in a reusable glass tube with the option for a built-in stainless steel floss cutter. The individual wrappings are made from biodegradable cornstarch, so there’s no waste there either.
This is a strong and effective floss product as well as a sustainable one. However, it is slightly on the thinner side, so while it’s good for getting into tight spaces, it may feel uncomfortable or irritating on very sensitive gums.
- Mulberry silk – Natural and biodegradable
- Flavored with natural peppermint – Flavorsome and freshening
- Candelilla wax – Eco-friendly and vegan
- Cornstarch packaging – Biodegradable
- Glass tube with floss cutter – Reusable
- On the thin side – May feel mildly uncomfortable
Why not go back to your roots with the EcoRoots vegan zero waste floss?
This floss is made from bamboo fiber and coated with candelilla wax. Both of these materials are naturally biodegradable and vegan-friendly, so they’re suitable for composting.
As an added bonus, the floss is flavored with organic peppermint extract so you can enjoy the fresh, deodorizing effect of mint flavoring without worrying about where it came from and how it was produced.
Activated charcoal has been added to the floss in order to produce a whitening effect, so if you’ve been looking into zero waste whitening treatments, it’s worth giving this a try!
Because the outer packaging is cardboard and can be either recycled or composted, there’s no leftover waste or environmental harm as a result of this purchase.
The floss is on the thicker side, which is a good thing in terms of strength, but not such a good thing for those with tight or crowded teeth.
- Bamboo fiber – Compostable
- Activated charcoal – Whitening properties
- Candelilla wax – Vegan and biodegradable
- Organic peppermint flavor – Healthy and flavorful
- Cardboard packaging – Recyclable or compostable
- Relatively thick – Not ideal for crowded teeth
Third up, we’d like to show you the Biodegradable Dental Floss from TreeBird. This naturally mint-flavored dental floss might actually make you excited to floss for the first time in your life since it tastes lovely and leaves your breath deliciously fresh.
However, the TreeBird dental floss doesn’t just carry benefits for your oral health. Because the floss is made of 100% natural silk fibers, it can be composted after use.
The glass floss container this plastic-free floss comes in is reusable, while the kraft paper packaging is biodegradable. So, once you’ve used up this dental floss, there’ll be no useless waste left behind.
The TreeBird Biodegradable Dental Floss is lubricated and strengthened with vegan candelilla wax, so it glides smoothly between the teeth without shedding.
However, this isn’t necessarily the strongest eco dental floss out there, and it has been known to snap when used on particularly tight teeth.
- 100% silk – Compostable
- Natural mint oil – Freshens breath
- Glass container – Reusable
- Vegan candelilla wax – Smooth and strong
- Kraft paper packaging – Biodegradable
- Not the strongest – May break between tight teeth
The vegan biodegradable floss from JnL Naturals is an excellent choice for plastic-free floss.
This floss is made from 100% plant-based materials, which means that everything in the floss is naturally derived and vegan. The floss is biodegradable, so it won’t stick around after disposal.
JnL Naturals packages its floss in a reusable glass tube and recyclable cardboard packaging, so nothing has to go to waste.
However, each container only holds 30 meters of floss. For context, most dental floss products start at lengths of 50 meters.
Therefore, if you want a long-term supply, you may need to buy a couple of containers at once. Multipack options are available via the seller.
- 100% plant-based – Biodegradable and vegan-friendly
- Travel-sized – Practical and portable
- Glass tube – Reusable
- Cardboard box – Recyclable
- Multipack options available – Good value
- Only 30 meters per package – Small supply
This Plastic-Free Dental Lace Floss available through Life Without Plastic is made from 100% mulberry silk.
Mulberry silk is a biodegradable material, as is the candelilla wax with which the floss has been strengthened and lubricated. Therefore, the entire product can decompose naturally in your compost, instead of going to a landfill.
The packaging is also eco-friendly, consisting of compostable, bioplastic wrapping, and a reusable glass container.
The floss comes in a 2-pack, so each purchase buys 60 meters of dental lace in total for a good price.
Additionally, the dental lace is mint-flavored, so it tastes good when you use it and has the added benefit of freshening up your breath.
The only downside is that it does shed slightly between crowded teeth.
- Mulberry silk – Biodegradable
- 2-pack – 60 meters in total
- Candelilla wax – Vegan and biodegradable
- Bioplastic packaging – Compostable
- Mint-flavored – Pleasant and deodorizing
- Sheds slightly – Not the best for crowded teeth
FLOSSPOT’s Gold Floss Refill is made from corn fiber. This material is compostable and vegan, so it’s a natural and eco-friendly option. Additionally, it’s been finished with vegan and biodegradable candelilla wax.
The packaging consists of a reusable and non-toxic stainless steel tube and recyclable cardboard.
This floss has been enhanced with natural and delicious ginger mint flavoring, so it’s not only highly effective and environmentally friendly, but also pleasant to floss with.
Admittedly, this floss product is on the more expensive side, so we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option. However, it’s a completely eco-friendly floss that’s high-quality.
- Corn fiber – Compostable
- Completely plant-based – Vegan-friendly
- Stainless steel tube – Non-toxic and reusable
- Cardboard packaging – Recyclable
- Ginger mint flavor – Natural and tasty
- High price tag – Not a budget option
The Compostable Floss from Georganics uses biodegradable corn fiber as a base, making the product compostable and plant-based.
Vegetable wax has been used to strengthen and lubricate the floss, which means that it’s comfortable and easy to use. Because the wax is also plant-based, it biodegrades and is suitable for vegans.
Georganics incorporates activated charcoal into the floss, which has tooth-whitening properties, so if you’re looking to lighten those dark stains in the grooves of your teeth, this floss is a good choice.
The floss comes in a refillable glass tube packed in compostable cardboard, so the packaging is also eco-friendly. However, Georganics has recently altered the size of its floss spools, meaning that they no longer fit in the previous containers.
This is unfortunate because it does decrease the reusable value of the dispenser. However, in all other respects, this is a great eco-friendly floss!
- Corn fiber – Plant-based and compostable
- Contains activated charcoal – Whitens teeth
- Vegetable wax – Vegan-friendly
- Refillable glass tube – Reusable
- Cardboard packaging – Compostable
- New floss lengths do not fit old containers – Compromises the reusability of the packaging
We’re big fans of the Zero Waste Biodegradable Dental Floss from SmileBoutiques.
You can purchase this floss in a choice of bamboo or corn fiber, both of which are biodegradable and non-toxic.
With the bamboo fiber floss, you can also benefit from the tooth-whitening properties of activated charcoal. Both fiber types are free from harmful and artificial chemicals, so they’re safe for your personal health and that of the planet.
Additionally, both products are treated with candelilla wax, so they glide through even crowded teeth easily without breaking.
Both bamboo and corn fiber floss products are packaged in reusable glass tubes and can be purchased in 2-packs for increased value for money. However, we should mention that this floss has a relatively high starting price for one spool, so it’s not the best budget buy.
- Bamboo or corn fiber – Natural and biodegradable
- Activated charcoal in bamboo product – Tooth-whitening
- Refillable glass tubes – Sustainable
- Candelilla wax – Strong and easy to use
- Chemical-free – Environmentally safe
- Quite expensive – High-end pricing
EcoGirl’s Biodegradable Dental Floss is a strong competitor in the environmentally friendly floss market.
Made from silk fibers and finished with candelilla wax, this one of the best biodegradable floss products that’s healthy for you and the planet!
The product comes in a pack of 3, which means you’re getting the floss at a better value than you would for a single spool. In total, the floss comes to 90 meters, so a single purchase will keep you supplied for a while.
In terms of thickness, this floss may be better for people with less crowded teeth because it’s thicker than your standard nylon floss.
EcoGirl’s dental floss comes in a stainless steel dispenser that can either be reused for future refills or recycled for repurposing.
- 100% silk fibers – Biodegradable
- Candelilla wax – Eco-friendly lubrication
- Stainless steel dispenser – Recyclable or reusable
- 3-pack – Good value for money
- 90 meters total – Long-lasting supply
- Moderately thick – Best for non-crowded teeth
Another product from EcoRoots, this Vegan Eco-Friendly Floss is the perfect floss to end our selection with!
The floss is made from compostable corn fibers and waxed with candelilla wax for maximum ease of use.
Organic mint and tea tree oils are incorporated into the floss to provide a soothing and lubricating effect.
Thanks to the glass container and recyclable cardboard packaging that the floss comes in, you won’t have to send anything off to the landfill when the floss is used up. Simply use your dispenser for your next floss refill and either recycle or compost the cardboard.
This floss resembles a rounded thread more closely than the flatter nylon strands used in traditional floss, so it’s gentler on the gums. However, if you have tight teeth, getting the floss through the gaps may be a challenge.
- Corn fiber – Compostable
- Candelilla wax – Comfortable and vegan-friendly
- Mint and tea tree oil – Organic, soothing, and lubricating
- Glass container – Refillable
- Cardboard packaging – Recyclable
- Rounded edges – May get stuck in tight teeth
One Last Option – for not quite zero waste floss
Not quite ready to give up nylon floss but still want something that does away with the plastic box and harmful chemicals? This next option may be the right choice for you.
This Fresh Mint Dental Floss from The Humble Co. may not be the most environmentally friendly dental floss product on our list, but it’s certainly a good budget-friendly step towards minimizing the environmental harm caused by your dental products.
The floss itself is made out of nylon fibers which means that it’s not biodegradable or compostable.
However, the fiber is BPA-free. BPA is a chemical that has been linked to neurological conditions and some forms of cancer. When disposed of, products containing BPA can contaminate bodies of water and harm wildlife, so this floss’s BPA-free status is reassuring.
Additionally, the floss is waxed with candelilla wax, which is vegan and cruelty-free. Natural flavoring has been used to give this dental floss its breath-freshening properties.
The packaging is 100% cardboard, so it can be recycled at the end of its lifetime.
- Cardboard packaging – Recyclable
- BPA-Free – Non-toxic
- Candelilla wax – 100% vegan
- Natural flavoring – Eliminates oral odor
- Affordably priced – Budget-friendly
- Nylon fibers – Not biodegradable
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I not use traditional dental floss?
There are several reasons not to use traditional dental floss.
Firstly, because plastic and nylon floss take decades to thousands of years to decompose and has high tensile strength, it presents a physical hazard to wildlife and marine life.
Moreover, the chemicals used in traditional dental floss (PFAS compounds) have been linked to health conditions ranging from immune damage to cancer and can contaminate the environment.
Is traditional dental floss vegan?
Traditional dental floss is often not vegan-friendly because of the animal-derived waxes frequently used in its production.
Even some of the best eco-friendly floss brands are not vegan because they use silk (the production of which involves the boiling of live silkworms) as the main fiber.
How long does it take for dental floss to decompose?
Plastic dental floss can take thousands of years to decompose. Nylon floss takes between 50 years and 80 years.
Eco-friendly, plant-based fibers, on the other hand, naturally biodegrade in a matter of months to a few years.