Once upon a time, when we wanted to purchase something as simple as a toothbrush, some toothpaste, or even some dental floss, we simply bought whatever was popular at the time without regard for what the products were made of. Times are certainly a-changin’, though, and consumers are concerned with the environment now more than ever before. Oral care products made from sustainable materials continue to grow in popularity for this reason.
Growing Consumer Consciousness
A 2019 Global Consumer Insights Survey conducted by Strategy and Business polled respondents about their preferences for sustainable products. Only 35% of the respondents said they actively chose sustainable products, and 41% said they avoided single-use plastic whenever possible. However, a June 2021 survey conducted by PwC found that half of all consumers across the globe have become more eco-friendly than before and responses were an average of 20 points higher. This is evidence that consumers are growing more environmentally conscious by the day, and this is driving the demand for sustainable products of all kinds – including oral care products.
Why the Shift?
There’s evidence to suggest that consumers’ overall attitude toward eco-friendly everyday products started to change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals found themselves working from home (or with more time on their hands overall), and as a result, they saw more posts on social media about sustainable alternatives to everyday products. The more consumers learned, the more interested they became in purchasing products that were better for the environment. Things like reusable food packaging, metal straws, and even bamboo toothbrushes started to soar.
Seeing the Effects of Years of Throw-Away Culture
Individuals born before about 1980 grew up in the “throw-away” culture. People purchased everyday items made from plastics and other non-biodegradable materials without any concern for the environment. It was the classic “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. As the years passed, however, and those same consumers learned about the plastic island in the ocean and how microplastics are wreaking havoc on animal populations (and even the human body), things started to change. Today, more people than ever before want to do their part to reduce plastic consumption in any way they can.
Sustainable Oral Product Alternatives
The three most common oral products found in households today are toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.
- Toothbrushes tend to be made from plastic that cannot be recycled, and they eventually find their way into landfills. Bamboo toothbrushes are far more sustainable than plastic; the bamboo handles are 100% biodegradable and they can be recycled into a variety of other products.
- Toothpaste found on drugstore shelves contains a variety of ingredients that could be harmful to your health, and it’s generally packaged in (you guessed it!) plastic. Sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives are made from recycled plastic, instead. They’re also vegan, cruelty-free, fluoride-free, and the packaging is 100% recyclable.
- Even dental floss is made from long strings of plastic, and that plastic is even more problematic when it comes to single-use flossers. Switching to silk floss in bamboo packaging is much better for the environment.
If you are a consumer who is concerned about the environment and your family’s health, you are certainly not alone. Fortunately, there are sustainable and eco-friendly oral care products on the market that you can feel good about. They contain no harsh chemicals and they’re actually good for the planet.