Week 1: Pearly Whites
There are a few criteria I consider when classifying these different swaps:
- Do I need to shop somewhere else to make this change?
- Does this product work differently than the product I currently have? For example, does this zero waste shampoo perform worse than my current shampoo?
- Is this product considerably more expensive than my current product?
If a product fulfills none or one of these criteria, it’s an easy change. If it’s two of these points, that’s swap has a moderate difficulty. If a product fulfills all three of these points, that’s a difficult change. Not a super sophisticated criteria, but hopefully covers the main points. FYI – I’d love to hear from you all about how you categorize your swaps! Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts!
Week 1 Challenge: Dental Floss
I wanted to start to my green journey with an easy win. After a bit of trolling around different eco sites, I landed at floss. Trust me, I was just as surprised as you. Floss containers are typically not recyclable as they’re too small to be processed by a standard recycling plant (see more recycling guidelines at the bottom of this post). And even though at first glace floss containers seem small, even insignificant, these little guys add up quickly. Especially, when you start adding in the plastic the plastic floss container came in!
On top of all that, the more I read about floss the more I realized I never understood the full impact it was having. Floss itself is typically made of nylon, which is non-biodegradable and often finds its way to oceans where it can be eaten by or injure marine life. And there I was thinking only the straws were the problem.
Luckily there is a solution, and an easy one. Lots of companies have started producing glass or reusable floss containers with alternatives to nylon such as silk or corn floss!
This is the option I ended up going with. I use the silk floss option. Price wise, most containers plus a couple refills cost about $10. This is more than I would typically spend on floss for sure, but these materials should last me a lot longer. Online this product can be found several places including Amazon, byHumanKind, and Public Goods. I would love to see it in more local big retailers, and will continue to update if I find this product in Walgreens, Bartells, CVS, etc. If you live in the Seattle area, I have also found these at the EcoCollective in Ballard, Public Goods and Services in West Seattle, and weirdly, Urban Outfitters.
If you find that non-nylon floss doesn’t work for you there are other reusable containers that use nylon. I’d love to encourage everyone to try one of the biodegrable options first, but not everything works the same for all people 🙂
One thing I haven’t touched on with this post are water pics. I have never used one of these myself, but it is definitely a reusable option although a little pricier than the ones included above. If you use a water pic, please leave a comment about your experience and if you would recommend it!
Anyways, that’s week one folks! I hope you found it informative and look forward to hearing about your experiences! Come back next week for another eco challenge in this 52 week journey to green!
Bonus Content: Is that recyclable?
The more I understand recycling, the more I realize most things aren’t recyclable. Which is why changing the products we buy is so critical! We’ll definitely touch on this later in the year, but for the time being, here are a couple resources to help you with all your sorting needs.