6 Zero Waste Floss Options That Are Plastic Free & Compostable

A person flossing with eco friendly floss.

Floss is something that most people simply don’t think about very much.

I’ve gotten some pretty strange looks while ranting about the impact of floss, so I would know.

But, finding a zero waste floss brand is an easy way for you to reduce your environmental impact, mainly because of how often we use it!

You can also find some information on the environmental and health aspects of floss, which I’ve covered in depth below some recommendations.

So, here are the best floss choices currently out there:

Zero Waste Floss Options

Personal Favorites

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Bite – Top Choice

bite floss review

Thread: PLA (polylactic acid) plant-based bioplastic with candelilla wax

Bite is well-known for their toothpaste tablets, but their unflavored floss also happens to be my favorite out of all the brands I’ve tried.

And let me just preface this review by saying I floss a lot. At least five times per day, both because I like flossing, and it’s also been an essential part of dealing with various dental issues I’ve had in the past.

No, you don’t have to care about my oral hygiene – I’m only saying this because, as a flossing addict, I feel like I’m pretty qualified to give an opinion on heavy-use sustainable floss!

So why is Bite my favorite? The main reason is that it’s texture is quite coarse (to scrape away grime) but it also glides easily between my teeth (which have super narrow gaps), resulting in painless, stress-free flossing every time.

Most brands fulfill one of those requirements, not both. But Bite’s floss works perfectly, is easy to pull out of the container, never tangles, and also has never broken – which happens frequently with most brands.

Bite also happens to make some top-tier toothpaste tablets and bamboo toothbrushes worth checking out!

Extra Bite Info:

  • Certified B Corp
  • PETA Beauty Without Bunnies Member
  • Certified Woman-Owned Business

EcoRoots

EcoRoot's glass jar of bamboo bioplastic floss.

Thread: Bamboo bioplastic with charcoal and candelilla wax

EcoRoot’s bamboo-based floss is nearly on the same level as Bite’s, but there are a few differences I’d like to point out.

Firstly, EcoRoot’s floss has a bit of added peppermint and tea tree essential oils, which give it a bit of a minty flavor, and also provides some antibacterial action from the tea tree oil.

Secondly, compared to Bite their floss is both thicker and coarser. Which isn’t a bad thing, don’t get me wrong – it just works differently.

Being thicker means it may require a bit more effort to get in between tightly packed teeth; and since it’s a bit coarser it’s slower to use, but also might clean some teeth better.

A lot of this comes down to your flossing technique, and I actually use this floss often as well, mainly to get rid of particularly stubborn bits of food. The other major difference is the black thread, due to the added charcoal, but ultimately that doesn’t make a difference in it’s effectiveness.

I also use EcoRoot’s face wash everyday, and their shaving cream bar a few times per week!

Extra EcoRoots Info:

  • 1% For The Planet Member

Dental Lace

dental lace floss review

Thread: Bamboo and plant-based PLA bioplastic, or silk

I’ve actually tried all of the floss options Dental Lace has available, and the cool thing about this brand is since they have three different variations, you should be able to find one that works for your teeth.

With that being said, one of their floss choices is made from silk, which ultimately I can’t recommend due to the animal cruelty involved with harvesting silk.

But they also have two other options, made from bamboo and corn-based PLA bioplastics. Unfortunately, I shattered one of my bottles on accident, so I was only able to get a picture of two, but here are some of the differences:

Their bamboo-based bioplastic floss is the thickest and coarsest, for those in need of a thorough flossing.

Their plant-based vegan floss is a step down from that, perfect for those who want a medium-thickness, smoother floss (this is what I would get).

And their silk floss is the thinnest and least coarse option, but also breaks pretty easily – another reason I wouldn’t recommend it (aside from ethical concerns).


Georganics

Jar of Georganics activated charcoal floss.

Thread: Corn based PLA bioplastic with vegan wax

Georganic’s floss comes in three different flavors: spearmint, orange, and charcoal.

So, if you’re looking for a flavored floss that isn’t minty, you may want to try their orange floss!

Their floss is on the thicker side, compared to my top recommendations, so if you have narrow gaps you may need a different option.

It’s not that thicker floss doesn’t work, it actually might work better – the issue is that it can get stuck between your teeth and then shred or snap completely when you try to move it around, forcing you to grab another bit of it and go again.

But Georganics makes a lot of excellent sustainable dental care products, and their floss is no exception. Even if it is a bit thick, it should work for most people and their flavor selection is top notch.

Georganics also has a pretty stellar electric toothbrush, which is included in the mail-in refill and recycling scheme they’ve come up with to reduce plastic waste even further.

Extra Georganics Info:

  • Certified B Corp

Plantish Future

Plantish Future floss next to its cardboard and bamboo packaging.

Thread: Corn starch based PLA bioplastic with candelilla wax

Plantish Future not only has one of my favorite brand names, but their vegan bioplastic floss also comes packaged in a uniquely sustainable bamboo dispenser.

I’ve personally dropped and broken multiple glass floss containers, so bamboo-based packaging is definitely an attractive option if you’re as clumsy as I am.

So, not only is the floss itself better than plastic – as it’s corn starch based bioplastic, but the container can be composted as well if you remove the metal bits on top!

Plantish has a ton of other fantastic plastic-free products on their Etsy shop and website, if you’re looking for other bath and household essentials.


Me Mother Earth

Bamboo, metal, and glass jars of floss made by Me Mother Earth.

Thread: Bamboo bioplastic and charcoal fiber with candelilla wax

Me Mother Earth has a few different containers available, checking all of the sustainable packaging boxes: glass, metal, and bamboo.

The floss inside, however, is the same – giving you the option to choose between whichever packaging you prefer without a confusing number of different types of floss.

It’s a gentle, and relatively thin floss, which means it could break a bit more easily – but since it shouldn’t get stuck in your teeth that shouldn’t really be an issue.

The main reason why floss breaks, aside from improper use, is simply because it gets stuck between tight gaps and shreds upon pulling.

Me Mother Earth stocks a variety of other daily essentials, including skincare products!

Extra Me Mother Earth Brand Info:

  • Leaping Bunny Member
  • Etsy Star Seller

Why do we make floss from plastic?

Plastics like nylon have a remarkable ability to be spun like thread, which has contributed to our current pollution crisis due to the mass production of convenient products like floss and synthetic clothing.

Floss in particular is something we use to clean one of the filthiest and most unhygienic parts of our bodies – and most people simply throw used floss in the trash (or toilet!).

It’s hard to blame them for that either, because even if you saved your nylon floss, you would have to go to great lengths to find a local recycling facility that accepts floss, and it seems a bit pointless when alternatives exist.

When you try to find floss, this is what the shelves usually look like:

Plastic flossing products on store shelves.

The oral care section of any store is usually super plastic-heavy, making these tiny strands of nylon floss nearly unavoidable as you’re basically required to shop online for alternatives.

Which isn’t a bad thing, as supporting plastic free dental brands is a good thing!

So, floss made out of silk, or bioplastics for vegans that comes in sustainable packaging is the way to go. Cardboard, glass and metal can be recycled, and the floss itself can be more easily composted.

What are the worst floss ingredients to avoid?

Floss isn’t just simple nylon thread.

Most dental brands pointlessly coat their floss with petrochemicals and other harmful ingredients, which is just another way for the petroleum industry to profit.

The floss itself is already plastic, so why are we adding even more fossil fuel based chemicals to the mix? Unless you’re someone who loves scenic views of oil rigs, which I suppose may exist.

A group of crude oil rigs positioned on the coast.

When you floss, you’re ingesting whatever chemicals the thread is coated with, and absorb them in microscopic amounts through your mucus membranes.

The main issues that exist when it comes to floss ingredients are:

  • Nylon plastic thread
  • PFAS in floss coatings
  • Synthetic flavors and fragrances
  • Contaminants from plastic production

Sounds pretty awful, right? Well, floss isn’t even that bad compared to other products; there are plenty of other harmful dental and skincare ingredients to avoid.

These are the kinds of issues that led me to research plant-based skincare brands to begin with, as I prefer to avoid unnecessary ingredients like petrochemicals whenever I can.

But let’s also look at a few floss-focused ingredients in particular:

PFAS in floss coatings

If you’ve used a floss that claims to “glide” easily, you’ve probably enjoyed a waxy non-stick coating made of per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS such as Teflon are petroleum-based, and they’re in thousands of products even though they’re known to cause cancer and hormonal disruption among other issues in humans.

The truly insane thing about floss is that manufacturers generally don’t label any ingredients on their packaging, and they don’t have to either, according to regulations like those of the FDA in the US.

Check out this interactive map of US areas with PFAS contamination to see if you’re impacted directly:

Map of areas contaminated with PFAs in the United States.
Image via EWG

PFAS are produced in huge amounts everyday all over the world and flow into the environment from both industrial production and personal care products such as floss, where they also bioaccumulate in many sensitive organisms!

Synthetic flavors and fragrances

There are thousands of different chemicals that can be legally combined while simply being labeled as “fragrance” or “flavoring,” or some other equally innocent sounding thing.

That’s making a generous assumption about floss manufacturers labeling their ingredients to begin with, as most don’t, and agencies like the FDA don’t even require them to anyways.

So, brands tend to give their flavors innocent and refreshing sounding names to obscure what they’re made of:

A bag of plastic floss picks with synthetic peppermint flavoring and fragrance.

The chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are anything but innocent, as it’s usually some “trade secret” blend of phthalates, parabens, and other petrochemicals you don’t want anywhere near your body.

Especially inside of your mouth!

Are there any animal products in floss?

There can be animal products in floss coating depending on the brand, so if you’re looking for cruelty free or vegan floss, check the recommendations above.

But avoid the brands adding animal products such as:

  • Silk floss thread (silkworm cocoons)
  • Beeswax coating

Final thoughts

There are plenty of zero waste floss choices out there, the trick is finding one that both works for your teeth and meets your ethical standards.

Taking care of your teeth shouldn’t come with a substantial environmental impact, and it doesn’t have to!

As a product you may use everyday, floss has the potential to be a particularly easy product to replace in your life, too.

2 Comments

  1. I found you recently from a reddit thread about shaving soap, and I want to let you know I appreciate the research you do. I used your link to buy a bar of EcoRoots shaving soap for my husband. I’m vegan, and I’ve only glanced at a few of your pages so far, so I haven’t done my usual snooping to see whether a website belongs to a “pure” ethical vegan. But even if you’re not, I can already see that you’re on the right side of the debate about animal products and sustainability.

    Regarding the map of PFAS contamination in the USA, I’m not certain, but I think that map only represents sites that have been tested. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that the areas without colored dots are free from PFAS; it just means they haven’t tested those areas yet. I wish they would test all areas, so we could get an apples-to-apples comparison.

    As for vegan floss, I know of at least two other brands (Huppy and BambooSwitch) that offer PLA-based vegan floss, and it makes me wonder whether some or many of these brands are buying their floss from the same manufacturer and then adding their own flavorings. Which is fine, I guess, but I’m always suspicious that anything that’s from an anonymous mass-production manufacturer might have added ingredients or be otherwise greenwashed and sold to unsuspecting small businesses. I’ve started putting my used floss into my compost pile, but I wish I knew “for sure” that I’m not adding PFAS to the dirt I’ll grow veggies in! For that same reason, I’ve started saving a lot of “industrially compostable” wrappers and containers in a box that I’ll hand over to an industrial composting company someday, if I ever find one.

    Thanks again, so much for providing good information and helping people like me find products that don’t violate our ethics!

    1. Hey Tara,

      Thanks for the comment, it means a lot to me! To answer your questions:

      1. The only non-vegan ingredients I’ve included in any of my guides are beeswax, honey, and silk. Generally, I’ve only added these kinds of products when there isn’t much of an alternative, at least for those trying to avoid petrochemicals. Just like you mentioned, while there are a handful of brands offering PFAS-free bioplastic floss, many of them are simply buying similar or identical products from the same manufacturer before adding some of their own flavorings or packaging. While that isn’t the worst thing in the world compared to more popular brands, I do sometimes add some insect-based animal product alternatives to add a variety of options into my product guides. In the future, I’ll most likely remove all of these as I update the guides and new products come out!

      2. I’m thankful the EWG provides such a simple but effective interactive map, but PFAS contaminated sites are unfortunately everywhere nowadays and it’s likely you’re correct about some sites being left out entirely. In fact, the EWG seem to have recently updated that map to include drinking water sites “above proposed limits” of contamination – so they do seem to be updating it occasionally.

      3. When it comes to PLA-based bioplastics, I tend to be wary of adding them to my compost as well. While some bioplastics have a more straightforward way to be disposed of, things like floss and similar products are harder to deal with. As a flossing addict myself, I’m hoping to come across some new and innovative dental products in the near future to review. As gross as it sounds, I’ve been collecting some kinds of bioplastic waste and plan on running some experiments myself and bringing them to industrial facilities so I can write or record a bit of content surrounding that particularly confusing content soon. Anyways, that’s actually the main reason I still have silk-based floss options up on this guide.

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