Silk Floss or no Silk floss?...Lets talk about it

The Canadian dental association recommends that we floss once a day to avoid tartar build up.

"In 1994, Americans used more than 2.5 million miles of dental floss, the equivalent of circling the earth more than 100 times." (Made how)

The problem for us - and our plastic-free mission - is that dental floss contains nylon and in some cases Teflon.  Nylon is petroleum based and we're not sure it ever decomposes because it's not found in nature and therefore microbes (those essential organisms that turn waste back into soil) do not 'eat it'.  Teflon - once the belle of the cookware ball - has similar challenges and there are also some potential health concerns.

Lastly, dental floss is typically housed in a plastic dispenser - also petroleum based and non-biodegradable.

After battling with a few different options we landed on 30 metre spools of 100% pure mulberry peace silk, housed in a glass dispenser with a stainless steel lid and floss cutter.  Sounds good right?  Well, some folks love it, but others may challenge our use of silk, with valid concerns.

So...why silk?

Well, in choosing our floss, we tested a number of options.  The bamboo floss we researched isn't typically plastic-free. Bamboo on its own isn't strong enough, so it’s typically laced with polyester - a step up from ordinary nylon floss, but not ideal because polyester is petroleum based and it doesn't decompose.

Corn floss sounded interesting, but our resident flossing geeks (we're looking at you, Michelle) came back with a resounding no when it broke apart super easily (as corn might), but it was so thick that it irritated their gums. Game over? Hold up, partner.

Then we tried some Ahimsa Mulberry Silk Floss. Great strength, decent thickness and lovely taste.

We finished it off with a glass jar to complete this plastic-free floss alternative. 

From a performance, biodegradability and style perspective it seems to have a hit the mark. Check out these comments:

"It's simple (refill packaging), elegant (the refillable container), sustainable, healthy, and makes a boring chore exciting!" (Elle M)

"It works really well. I’ve only used one type of synthetic floss that works better! I love this stuff." (Joseph C)

"love it! It makes me enjoy flossing more. For me the best part is: it looks like a message in a glass bottle. So delicate!" (Rebecca Liu)

The Flip side to Silk

Despite the good vibes, there is always a tradeoff to every decision a company makes - here's ours.

"How is replacing product with SILK and Beeswax more environmentally sound than plastic!!!

Aren't you supposed to be an ETHICAL COMPANY?

How is furthering the exploitation of animals better than plastic waste when there are options that are neither plastic nor barbaric?" 

Silk comes from a worm and the production of the silk typically results in the death of the silk worm, so we searched for an option that avoided this nasty fate.

We landed on what is known as Ahimsa silk, also known as peace silk, which avoids the boiling of the silk worms in their pods. Although this 'sounds good', our next QC measure is to get detailed documentation that is more specific as to our supplier's process so that we can share a step by step with all of you!

We think we made the best choice with the options we had available, but we're always looking to improve and find even better alternatives - hemp comes up a lot.  What do you think?  What would you do if you were us?

Don't have a floss yet? Well its not too late, grab one today and find out what the talk is all about! 

                                                  

 

product development

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Comments


  • I ordered some of the eco floss and have had mixed experience.

    A few of my teeth are close together and I find that, more often than not, the floss breaks when I attempt to insert or retract the floss from those tight quarters.

    Is it possible to increase the strength of the floss to resist breakage?

    Douglas on
  • I had used Eco-Dent before thinking that it was a pretty benign floss product. After experimenting with the Etee floss I went back and discovered that Eco-Dent floss is nylon. I am on a learning curve with Etee floss as it is much more breakable than nylon. The jury is out. I am breaking the floss about one our of four times.

    Brian Bailey on
  • Your article alone tells me you guys are on the right path!! I appreciate your deep research for a vegan alternative that is actually biodegradable. In my research, desperately trying to find that dream combo, I found out myself that the vegan oh-so “compostable” flosses actually contain 20% polyester. The deception seems to start at the suppliers of the raw material. My Amazon hunt just proofed how many “eco” brands are clueless.

    While getting sucked into the topic of silk, I found a company that is researching alternatives to silk. They have developed (lab-grown) spider silk, that has huge chances to replace silk. Right now, it’s focusing on the fashion industry, but I am wondering if it could be used as floss?!? Would love for you guys to investigate.
    https://boltthreads.com/technology/microsilk/

    I realize I have to compromise (for now). I’ll go with the ahimsa silk floss until there is a truely compostable option out there.

    Sybille on
  • Your article alone tells me you guys are on the right path!! I appreciate your deep research for a vegan alternative that is actually biodegradable. In my research, desperately trying to find that dream combo, I found out myself that the vegan oh-so “compostable” Floßes actually contain 20% polyester. The deception seems to start at the suppliers of the raw material. my Amazon hunt juSt proofed how many “eco” brands are clueless. Frustrating, at least.

    I found a company that is researching alternatives to silk. They have developed (lab-grown) spider silk, that has huge chances to replace silk. Right now, it’s focusing on the fashion industry, but I am wondering if it could be used as floss?!? Would love for you guys to investigate.
    https://boltthreads.com/technology/microsilk/

    I realize I have to compromise (for now). I’ll go with the ahimsa silk floss until there is a truely compostable option out there.

    Sybille on
  • All the research that you’re doing is great as it’s all so overwhelming for me as a consumer. I appreciate the comments about …And bottom line, silk of any kind is better than plastic. People who love their almonds and soy need to understand that the supply chain of almond production is decimating bees and local bird life. Is that not pillage, and capitalist exploitation?Yes but there has got to be a balance somewhere. The world does go round. Is your silk worm process cruel to the worm or cause harm if not death? Maybe this Eti worm is the answer? And it decomposes. Are there ethics of using worms? I am very fussy on dental floss and actually like your product. It feels like it’s doing the job and I’m helping to save part of the planet if not the worms:). Question. I saw an add in the Metro about not flushing floss down the toilet as it clogs pipes. Is this true of Etee floss? Does it matter if it decomposes? Thanks! Great work.
    P.S. Don’t love the dish soap but very happy with the bees wax cloths. As for making your products vegan too well not sure we can please all of the people all of the time!

    Rhona on


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