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 am fine with silk and bees wax. If bee keeping is done ethically, it does not harm bees and actually promotes their survival. Cotton is not without its problem if you consider the water and energy required to grow and process it. I appreciate how Etee is considering all these dilemmas and opening up a dialogue with its customers.

    Tonja Steiner on
  • I would like to try the silk and beeswax floss. Silk is strong and I love the glass container, much better than more plastic.

    Jean on
  • I am perfectly happy and comfortable with silk and beeswax.

    Joanna on
  • My question would be to the value of the ethical choice to use silk versus the use of cotton or another natural textile since the idea is to be plastic free. I like the silk option personally and if the worms are allowed to mature before harvest I see no issue with it personally. I think the real takeaway here is that you are a company asking its end users for input on how to improve an improvement… I see no bad in this!

    Jamie Varga on
  • I’ve used the silk floss and it’s working fine. I was surprised, though, to find that the refill spools, two in a cardboard box, are inside a baggie that looks like plastic to me. Box says ‘plastic-free’, so I was just wondering what material that see-through packaging is made of. Still a lot less plastic than the typical floss holder, but since we’re talking details here, I thought I’d ask.
    I love the way you are open about your products and research – so hard to find companies that are transparent about where they source their products and why.

    Margreet on

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