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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  • I have tried the silk floss (before I knew about the harm to the silk worms – nice to know there is a better silk to use), the corn floss and the bamboo floss. All of them break easily, but with care and learning which teeth tend to break them, I am getting much better at not breaking the floss. They all tend to shred but this just means starting with a longer piece and moving it along if a section shreds. My favorite so far is the corn floss as it seems to be the strongest. It took me forever to find a bamboo floss that did not have activated charcoal – to me the charcoal is an unnecessary ingredient.

    Ellen Wolcott on
  • Etee, if you use Eri silk it is correct: the silk worm is NEVER killed in the process of unwinding the silk. Readers need to read up on things before they throw ignorant shade. The silk is harvested from the coconut after the moth has left the cocoon. It is the Buddhist silk of choice for that reason.

    The Eri silk work doesn’t eat Mulberry leaves though, so Etee, y’all need to rename your product. They eat castor leaves. Mulberry silkworms are boiled to extract the silk we all know.

    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? Eri is not cruel. And it decomposes. THE END.

    The Odd Bee on
  • I am not 100% for sold and beeswax since I think personally that they can always be avoid. It will be interesting to have proof that the harvesting of the silk is made in a ethical, safe and respectful environment for the worms. Not that we don’t trust you guys, but many companies don’t really do what they claim… Did you visit the silk farm by yourself?

    Valerie on
  • Wonderful idea for a product, but can’t you offer anything other than mint? Even just plain?

    Delta on
  • I’m happy with the floss. I think if you do come up with a vegan product you should sell both. To me ethically harvested silk and beeswax that a byproduct is less damaging to the environment than plastic. The texture is great as well.

    Sarah on

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